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2G SPECTRUM SCAM
No evidence against Maran, CBI tells SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 1
The CBI today informed the Supreme Court that it had not found any evidence so far against former Telecom Ministers Dayanidhi Maran, Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie in the alleged 2G scam for the period from 2001 to 2007.

Senior counsel KK Venugopal, who submitted a status report on the CBI investigations to a Bench comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, said the preliminary inquiry was, however, still on against the three former ministers. Maran held the portfolio in the UPA-I government (2004-09), while Mahajan (who is no more) and Shourie were telecom ministers while the NDA was in power during 1999-2004.

Venugopal read out only the gist of the status report in the court without naming the former ministers, but the reference to them became clear from the period (2001-07).

The inquiry against Maran pertained to his alleged coercion of then Aircel chief C Sivasankaran to sell the company to Maxis, owned by Ananda Krishnan. Maran had allegedly sat on Aircelís applications for fresh licences for business expansion, but cleared them after the sale of the company. Subsequently, Maxis and its group companies invested Rs 800 crore in Sun Network, owned by Maranís brother Kalanidhi.

Maran had to quit as Union Textiles Minister in July this year following the allegations.

While passing an order bringing the CBI investigations in the 2007-08 2G scam under the SC in November 2010, the Bench had asked the investigation agency to enlarge the scope of its probe covering the 2001-07 period as well. Following the order, the CBI initiated the preliminary inquiry for the 2001-07 period and filed two chargesheets for the 2007-08 period against former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and top officials of several companies. The CBI is likely to file the third chargesheet in the case by September 15. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also filed a report, stating that property worth Rs 223 crore of some companies has been attached while the investigation relating to transactions involving around Rs 10,000 crore is still on under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The money trail of the accused telecom companies covered Cyprus, Mauritius and Switzerland, it said.

The Income Tax Department informed the apex court that its investigations were complex and time-consuming as these could be done only on the basis of the returns filed by the companies. The probe relating to the financial year 2008-09 would be completed by December.

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