CBI told the Supreme Court that probe in the 2G spectrum allocation scam has shown “violation” of norms during NDA regime when late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Shourie were the telecom ministers and said the then Finance Minister Jaswant Singh would be examined.
The agency also told the court that the element of “coercion” by Dayanidhi Maran, who was the Telecom Minister between May 2004 and May 2007, has not been revealed during investigation so far into his alleged role in connection with the sale of Aircel to Malaysia-based Maxis group.
However, Senior advocate K K Venugopal appearing for CBI, said investigation has revealed that the company which was taking over Aircel was in contact with Maran, a DMK MP and his brother.“Jaswant Singh would be examined in due course,” Venugopal told a bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly.
Singh was heading the Group of Ministers(GoM) on the issue of limited mobility and unified licencing during the relevant period.
The agency, which filed a fresh status report on its probe, said that it was investigating the allocation of spectrum during 2001-07 when Mahajan, Shourie and Maran (UPA 1) were the Telecom Ministers. It informed the court that the probe in this regard would be completed by the end of this month.
When Venugopal was reading portions of the report in a sealed cover, the bench asked him “Are you going to examine these persons(Shourie, Maran and others)?” “What other steps have been taken for investigation,” the bench asked.
The CBI informed that during Mahajan’s tenure, members of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) have been meeting the then telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh in connection with the Cellular mobile service issue.
Mahajan was Telecom minister between 2001 and 2003 while Shourie held this portfolio from January 2003 to May 2004.
Maran was forced to resign as Union Textiles Minister in July after CBI said it was investigating a complaint against him filed by C Sivasankaran, who owned Aircel in 2006.
CBI said that during Maran’s tenure there was “deliberate delay” to provide letter of intent to the promotor of Aircel.
The agency said after Aircel was sold to the Maxis Group, investments were made by the Malaysian firm into the family business of Marans.
Venugopal said CBI was also probing the allocation of Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) during Shourie’s tenure. Pradeep Baijal was the Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) between 2003 and 2006.
The CBI on July 6 had charged Maran in the Supreme Court with “forcing” a Chennai-based telecom promoter to sell his stakes in Aircel to Maxis in 2006.
The agency, in its status report then had said Maran had forced Sivasankaran to sell the stake in Aircel to Maxis Group. Maran has refuted the allegations. The report had said that the Malaysian firm was allegedly favoured by Maran and was granted licence within six months after taking over Aircel in December 2006.