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Damning FIR: CBI says Dayanidhi Maran got Rs 550 cr in Aircel-Maxis deal

Editor's note: This article was originally published on 12 October 2011. Firstbiz is republishing the article in light of the Attorney General on Tuesday clearing the decks for the CBI to chargesheet former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis scandal.

Former Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran benefited indirectly by Rs 549,96,01,793 (Rs 549.96 crore) as quid pro quo for various favours to Aircel, owned by Malaysia-based company Maxis, alleges a new First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 2G spectrum case early this week. Firstpost has seen the FIR that has been filed.

The amount of Rs 550 crore (rounded up) was allegedly received by a company owned by Maran's brother Kalanithi, and is much larger than the Rs 200 crore allegedly paid to Andimuthu Raja.

Raja, who had succeeded Maran in the ministry, is said to have favoured Swan Telecom and the latter's promoters had in turn given Rs 200 crore to DMK-controlled Kalaignar TV. DMK chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is in jail for that, though she claims the money was a loan and has since been returned.

 Damning FIR: CBI says Dayanidhi Maran got Rs 550 cr in Aircel-Maxis deal

Maran had cleared seven licence and spectrum deals with Maxis Communication and, as an 'equal and fair' favour, Maxis' sister concern Astro All Asia Networks invested Rs 629 crore. PTI

According to the FIR, on 1 June 2007, a Mumbai-based company Enam Securities Pvt Ltd had determined the valuation of Sun Direct TV, owned by the Maran family, in the range of Rs 3,465.76 crore and Rs 4,039 crore.

The FIR says it was grossly overvalued. "In 2007, Tata Sky, with 50 percent of the DTH market, had a fair value of Rs 2,500 crore. Sun Direct TV, which had not even rolled out its DTH services, at best had a value of Rs 400 crore,'' argues the FIR.

The miscalculation in valuation of Sun TV was deliberate, it would seem. Maran had cleared seven licence and spectrum deals with Maxis Communication and, as an 'equal and fair' favour, Maxis' sister concern Astro All Asia Networks invested Rs 629 crore at the rate of Rs 69.57 per share, alleges the FIR. Astro bought 20 percent stake in Sun Direct TV.

In contrast, Maran's brother Kalanithi Maran bought 80 percent equity at the rate of Rs 10 a share. At this rate, Astro was supposed to spend only Rs 79 crore for 20 percent stakes. So calculating the 'bribe' amount on a pro-rata basis, Astro pumped in additional Rs 550 crore for favours showered by Dayanidhi Maran .

The FIR begins with a retelling of how Maran had designs to favour Maxis Communications and how he counselled former Aircel owner C Sivasankaran to sell his 100 percent stake in Aircel to Maxis. According to the report, Maran had malafide intentions in forcing Siva to sell Aircel to T Ananda Krishnan of Maxis. He sat over Sivasankaran's applications for spectrum for years by issuing show-cause notices. Despite repeated requests to meet Maran in 2005, the latter declined to meet Siva for 'ulterior motives'.

Immediately after, the report says, Ralph Marshall, who is CEO of Maxis Communications, met Sivasankaran and told him to sell his company, as he had already taken all the necessary clearances from the Maran brothers.

On 12 November 2005, the FIR says, Kalanithi Maran met Siva in Chennai with his brother Dayanidhi's message that "Siva should sell his 100 percent stakes in the company and my brother will call you''.

Things moved very quickly thereafter. The same day (12 November 2005) Maran called Siva, instructing him to work out the deal with Maxis and moments after Siva met Ralph Marshall at Taj Coromandal Hotel, Chennai. Marshall made Siva talk to T Ananda Krishnan on telephone.

The deal was struck. Four months later, Astro All Asia Networks through South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd, invested $166 million (Rs 629 crore, according to the CBI FIR) in Sun Direct TV Private Ltd. Maran allegedly took Rs 550 crore as quid pro quo and rendered a disservice to the nation, the FIR adds.

The FIR

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 04:43:58 IST