Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Maran, Raja to depose before JPC

07 June 2011

Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran,  currently the textiles minister and his successor in the telecom ministry A Raja will depose before the JPC which will summon a total of 85 witnesses. Included among the witnesses would be representatives of top industrialists and BJP members like Arun Shourie and Yashwant  Sinha who served as telecom ministers during the NDA regime.

The committee which comprises members drawn from political parties is examining the alleged nexus between corporate India and politicians which led to India's largest-ever scam with telecom licences being given away at throwaway prices to companies that were not eligible.

Meanwhile, Raja, who was arrested in February on charges of conspiracy and cheating, is currently in jail. He stands accused of engineering the scam along with companies like Unitech Wireless and Reliance Telecom.

Maran, who like Raja is from the DMK, is said to be under pressure to quit as textiles minister.

The CBI is investigating complaints that during his tenure as telecom minister from 2004 to 2007, Maran forced former Aircel owner C Sivasankran to sell his company to Malaysia-based A Anandakrishnan who is known to be close to Maran's family

Sivasankran told the CBI yesterday that during his tenure as telecom minister, Maran refused to grant licences necessary for Aircel to operate mobile networks and after years of being denied, he sold his telecom to A Anandakrishnan.

The new owner was granted 14 licences and a few months later, he invested Rs800 crore in Sun TV, owned by Maran's brother. It is alleged that the investment in Sun was a kickback for the telecom licences granted to Aircel.

Denying the charges leveled against him, Maran said nobody could force anyone to sell their business. He added he never had to force anyone and if anyone felt they were being forced, they could have move the courts against him.

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