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SC ‘must’ handover Maran brothers to CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation said in the Supreme Court that it wants to interrogate former telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran in custody in connection with the telephone exchange scam. The CBI in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court said that Maran was not cooperating with the investigation and hence his custodial interrogation is needed. The Supreme Court asked Mr. Maran to file his reply to the CBI affidavit and adjourned the case to November 27. This would mean that Maran cannot be arrested until November 27th when the Supreme Court will hear his case. The top court had earlier stayed the Madras High Court order cancelling Mr. Maran’s anticipatory bail. The CBI in its affidavit said that the custodial examination of Maran is needed to ascertain the actual usage of these lines for the benefit of SUN TV which is in his exclusive knowledge.
There is clear wedge being driven in between Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) through the Maran brothers’ issue. Essentially, it’s the clause of 3.2.1 and 3.8 which is the base of the Maran and MHA conflict. Of course, I&B Ministry is soft on the Marans. Also not known to anybody in the Indian media, in February 2009 four employees of Sun TV were arrested in Sri Lanka for Pro-LTTE activities. Maran is trying to use 3.2.1 to continue the bid for FM stations and MHA is firm on 3.8 which restricts them on account of investigations.

There is evidence of forging/tampering and manipulation of records and custodial interrogation is necessary to ascertain the modus operandi of the usage of the illegal telephone exchange, to ascertain the actual usage and consequential loss to the public exchequer, the affidavit also stated.
The DMK leader has been accused by the CBI of misusing his office to illicitly construct an underground telecom exchange at his Chennai residence. The agency claims that hundreds of cables capable of transmitting large volumes of data were used by Mr Maran to benefit Sun TV, a broadcaster group owned by his brother, media mogul Kalanithi Maran. Last month, the former minister was interrogated extensively in Delhi by the CBI. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The CBI has alleged that Maran had 764 telephone lines under the service category which were being used to benefit the Sun TV network owned by his brother. The CBI had moved the Supreme Court after Maran had filed an anticipatory bail application.

Maran brothers are facing a CBI probe over alleged allotment of 300 high-speed BSNL telephone lines to the residence of former Communications and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran in Chennai which were extended to his brother Kalanithi’s channel Sun TV. The Aircel-Maxis deal also came under the scanner after Aircel owner C. Sivasankaran lodged a complaint with the CBI in April-May 2011 alleging that he was forced to sell his stake to Maxis.

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has declined to grant security clearance to the group to further its television and radio businesses in India. In a similar manner, Sri Lanka has blacklisted Sun TV and its employees from reporting on Sri Lanka as it is seen as an LTTE sympathizer.

Mr. Maran has been charged with corruption in another case linked to his term as Telecom Minister – he has been accused of refusing crucial clearances to Aircel, a telecom company, till the owner agreed to sell the firm to a Malaysia-based entrepreneur who allegedly made a large investment in the Sun group in exchange.

On February 1st, 2009, four employees of Sun TV network were arrested by the Sri Lankan army for anti-government propaganda and Pro-LTTE decimation of news. Investigations revealed that Sun TV also operated without a valid license in Sri Lanka. The employees were handed over to the Vavuynia Police.

There are various things to be considered while giving contracts to firm:

First of all, tenders are issued by the ministry for any work.

The tender process is a composite process having various stages, you cannot go to the next stage without clearing the earlier stage. The process of elimination of persons held to be unfit is in two stages. In the first stage those applicants which are controlled by persons who are convicted of specified offenses are eliminated from the very beginning, one such offense is money laundering, it means that he who is convicted is barred from participating in the tender process itself. In the present case this clause is not applicable and because of that respondents were allowed to go to the next stage, this is in 3.2.1 of Notice Inviting Application (NIA).

Kalanidhi Maran is the Director as well as the owner of 75 per cent shares of applicant company and therefore he needs to be go through security clearance, besides, he is the key executive taking all important decisions on behalf of the applicant company, hence he has to clear the security. The Kalanithi Maran owned Sun Television Network is under watchful of eye of the Central Intelligence Agencies not only in India but also in Sri Lanka.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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