[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probed the corruption case, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) went into the money laundering charges. A special court discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi Maran and others in the corruption and money laundering cases connected with the Aircel-Maxis deal. The CBI, in its chargesheet, alleged that the former Minister entered into a criminal conspiracy with T. Ananda Krishnan, owner of Malaysian company Maxis, and coerced Chinnakannan Sivasankaran, owner of Aircel, to sell his shares to the former allegedly in lieu of investments by the foreign company through another company into Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd. Dayanidhi Maran is one of the promoters of Sun Direct. The ED complaint alleged that Rs. 742.58 crore was paid for Dayanidhi Maran by two Mauritius-based companies through Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd. and South Asia FM Ltd. The two companies are owned and controlled by Kalanidhi Maran and the money was utilised by these companies for their business, said the complaint. But CBI seems to be shown its place for being over enthusiastic in fixing Maran brothers.
Maran is a political non-entity and won’t pose a threat to anyone. The CBI is doing the right thing by quizzing Dayanidhi Maran’s associates and let him come clear with all the facts of the case. The investigating agency had arrested three people, including V Gowthaman, the then additional private secretary of Dayanidhi Maran, in connection with alleged allotment of more than 300 high-speed telephone lines to the then telecom minister’s residence in Chennai which were extended to his brother’s TV channel. Besides Gowthaman, CBI arrested chief technical officer S Kannan and electrician L S Ravi of Sun TV network. CBI has named Maran and BSNL officials, including the then chief general manager K Bramhanathan and MP Veluswami in the FIR filed in October 2013 following a preliminary enquiry in which the agency claimed to have found enough material to proceed with a regular case against the former minister.
These leaders have spoiled the very system by indulging in corrupt activities and are a blot on this nation. Everyone wants to know how the power was misused during Maran’s tenure at the centre. Then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible to the nation through the parliament for his irresponsible conduct. An individual may receive orders from his superiors but he is personally responsible for his own omissions and commissions. It seems spectrum was the ‘bread and butter’ of telecom minister. The ministers were not worried about the loss caused to the government. No one is ready to admit that if they have worked diligently, it would have resulted in better profit to the government which in turn can be distributed to the poor people. Now, few companies have gained crores of rupees because of this spectrum.
Notwithstanding the recommendation of then FM for auctioning, Manmohan Singh kept mum when Raja wrote to him that he will go ahead with the old system of pick and choose; just acknowledged Raja’s letter. His silence implies consent and involvement. Even subsequently when the FM wrote to close the matter of allocations of 2G, Manmohanji did not do anything and has been a party to concealing all happenings from public view in spite of CAG revelations. All these incidents reveal a sinister plan executed behind the scenes with the knowledge of then PM. All those who have been directly or indirectly parties to the scams deserve severe punishment.
Nearly four years after getting complaints, the CBI will start a formal probe into allegations that over 300 telephone lines were allotted to the residence of Dayanidhi Maran in Chennai and illegally linked with a television channel owned by his brother. These 323 residential lines were in the name of BSNL General Manager connecting the Boat House residence of Mr. Maran with office of Sun TV through a dedicated underground cable during the tenure of Maran as Telecom Minister, sources in the CBI claimed. The agency has recommended action to Telecom Secretary in 2007 but the department allegedly did not give its nod in the case. CBI has now decided to file a preliminary inquiry in the case against unknown persons. These lines were not ordinary telephone lines but more costly Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), capable of carrying huge data thus facilitating faster transmission of TV news and programmes across the globe.
Earlier, CBI in its report to the Telecom Secretary has alleged these lines are used by medium to large commercial enterprises to meet special needs such as video conferencing and transmission of huge volume of digital data, for which heavy price is to be paid but alleged that Sun TV got it for free because of Maran. It said that this virtual exchange was programmed in such a way that except “authorised BSNL staff” no one in the state-owned telecom company was aware of its existence. The CBI alleged that a stealth cable was used to connect the residence of the Minister with Sun TV office to give impression that these lines were for the Minister but actually they were used by the channel.
Marans always acted as if National property was their parental heritage. Meanwhile, the probe was started in 2011, FIR filed in October 2013 following a preliminary enquiry, three have been arrested in 2015 to “collect some crucial evidence” and the main culprit was enjoying political patronage all these years. These three arrested are executing the work for their employer. How deep the ‘money’ can penetrate we can see it now.
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