2G probe closes in on another Indian minister

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Old 07-Jul-2011
2G probe closes in on another Indian minister

New Delhi The noose has started tightening for federal Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informing the Supreme Court it has a case against him.

The CBI, in its status report filed before the apex court about the status of its investigation into the 2G spectrum allocation scam, told the court it has enough evidence to prosecute Maran for pressuring a private telecom operator to benefit his family business.

Maran is the third Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader facing possible arrest in the 2G spectrum allocation scam. DMK leaders A. Raja, a former telecom minister, and Kanimozhi are already in prison for their alleged role in the Rs1.76 trillion (Dh145.5 billion) 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Maran is also facing a possible axing from the council of ministers, which is likely to be reshuffled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon.

Nripendra McRae, who held the post of telecom secretary while Maran headed the ministry between 2004 and 2007, has emerged as a key witness against his former boss.

Ministers probed

CBI under the Supreme Court directive is investigating the roles of all past telecom ministers in the scam.

Mishra told the CBI Maran purposely targeted mobile phone operator Aircel by raising needless questions about Aircel promoter C. Shivasankaran's other companies from newspaper reports.

He also delayed issuing necessary licences forcing Shivasankaran to sell his stakes in the company to Kuala Lumpur-based T. Anandakrishnan who in turn invested Rs7.5 billion in the SUN TV group owned by Maran's elder brother Kalanithi Maran. All necessary licences were issued to Aircel within months after Anandakrishnan took over the company.

Mishra also told the CBI Maran caused an extraordinary delay in approval of initial spectrum to Shivasankaran's group despite availability and approval by the defence ministry

Mishra's statement to the CBI corroborates allegations of Shivasankaran who had earlier testified before the CBI that Maran forced him to sell his stakes in Aircel to benefit Kalanithi Maran.

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