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The meeting, call that could help CBI nail Maran

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New Delhi: Sources say the CBI is verifying crucial evidence that could establish how Dayanidhi Maran as Telecom Minister promoted the interests of Sun TV, a company owned by his brother.

Mr Maran, who is from the DMK, quit yesterday as Textiles Minister after the CBI said it has evidence that he misused his office as Telecom Minister (Mr Maran held the Telecom portfolio from 2004 to 2007).

He has steadfastly refuted allegations that he coerced C Sivasankaran to sell Aircel in 2006. Mr Sivasankaran says that by refusing him critical licences and through direct threats, Mr Maran pressured him into exiting Aircel. Mr Maran allegedly also had a buyer lined up - T Ananda Krishnan, who owns Malaysia-based Maxis. Once Aircel was bought by Mr Ananda Krishnan, the company's licences were processed. And Mr Ananda Krishnan invested 800 crores in Sun Networks, owned by Mr Maran's brother, Kalanidhi.

Mr Maran has said Mr Sivasankaran's allegations are baseless, and that he does not own any stake in Sun.

Sources in the CBI say that Mr Sivasankaran has shared critical details of a meeting that help boost their case against Mr Maran. The former Aircel owner has said that at a meeting in November 2005, he met Kalanidhi Maran at the Sun TV office in Chennai and "was threatened to sell my Aircel stake to Maxis." The entrepreneur claims that after the meeting, the Telecom Minister called him to reinforce the need to sell Aircel.

If the CBI can verify this meeting and the phone call that followed, Mr Maran's defence will be significantly weakened. For one, his attempts to promote Sun TV's interests will be exposed. He will have to explain why his brother made it his business to meet with the owner of a telecom at his office.

Sources also confirmed that Standard Chartered officials based in Malaysia who may have also played a part in the Maxis takeover of Aircel will be questioned by CBI officials later this month.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/the-meeting-call-that-could-help-cbi-nail-maran-117826?cp

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