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CBI may quiz Maran soon

Ruchika Chitravanshi  |  New Delhi 

Dayanidhi Maran

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to quiz Dayanidhi Maran on the Aircel-Maxis deal soon. Maran had, earlier in the day, resigned as the textile minister.

Maran was the telecom minister from May 2004 to May 2007---the period during which C Sivasankaran-promoted Aircel had sold its stake to Malaysian conglomerate Maxis.

However, the investigative agency did not specify when Maran would be questioned. CBI officials said they were in the process of verifying Sivasankaran's statement, which alleged he was coerced by Maran to sell his stake to Maxis. The CBI is also questioning people who were then officials in the department of telecom (DoT), along with 10 other witnesses to the Aircel-Maxis deal, who were cited by Sivasankaran.

While the CBI has recorded the statement of former DoT secratary Nripendra Misra, other senior officials likely to be called for questioning by the CBI include J S Sarma and D S Mathur. Both Sarma (now chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and Mathur were DoT secretaries during Maran's tenure as telecom minister. CBI officials said the statements of junior DoT officials were also being recorded. Sivasankaran had given his statement to the CBI on June 6.

Yesterday, the CBI, in its status report on the 2G probe, told the Supreme Court that the promoter of a Chennai-based telecom firm was forced to sell his firm to a Malaysian company in 2006.

The investigative agency is also likely to talk to the merchant bankers who were involved in the Aircel-Maxis deal. CBI officials have said they would be able to complete the investigation in the Aircel-Maxis deal in three months.

The next charge sheet in the 2G spectrum case is now expected to be filed by August 31. The third charge sheet was earlier scheduled to be filed by the first week of July. The ongoing probe into the Loop-Essar case led to the delay in the charge sheet. At the centre of the investigation the issue of who owns Loop Telecom and whether Essar has a substantial stake in it.

In its report submitted to the Supreme Court, the CBI also questioned the clean chit given awarded to Loop by the corporate affairs ministry. The CBI had submitted a 71-page status report on its probe in the 2G spectrum scam to the Supreme Court yesterday.

First Published: Fri, July 08 2011. 00:21 IST