Second Indian minister under investigation in telecom scam

A former telecom minister, A. Raja, is already in jail in connection with a scam

India's top investigation agency, Central Bureau of Investigation, told the country's Supreme Court on Wednesday that it is investigating another former telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran, in connection with alleged irregularities in the working of the communications ministry.

Maran, who was telecom minister between 2004 and 2007, is alleged by the CBI to have coerced the promoter of mobile operator Aircel to sell his stake to Maxis Communications in Malaysia, by delaying clearances of spectrum to Aircel, according to local newspaper reports.

His successor, A. Raja, was arrested in February after the CBI charged him with involvement in the alleged out-of-turn allotment of 2G licenses and spectrum in 2008.

The Supreme Court had instructed the CBI to broaden the scope of its investigation from the out-of-turn allocations in 2008, to also include the allotment of licenses and policy changes by the telecom ministry from 2001.

Maran, who is currently minister for textiles in the federal government, has previously denied the charges against him.

The latest investigation by the CBI into Maran suggests that the irregularities in the telecom ministry may have preceded the 2008 scam.

The irregular allocations of 2G licenses and spectrum to some Indian operators in 2008 may have cost the country about US$39 billion, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) that was presented to Parliament in November.

The 2G licenses were issued in 2008 at prices that prevailed in 2001, the CAG said. Department of Telecommunications (DOT) went ahead and issued the licenses in 2008 without an auction, even though other government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance had asked it to review the decision, it added.

Some of the alleged beneficiaries of the 2008 allotment, mainly real-estate companies, sold stakes in their mobile ventures to multinational mobile operators like Telenor and Etisalat at prices much higher than they had paid to DOT for licenses and spectrum.

Maran and Raja both belong to the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam, a coalition partner of the ruling Congress party in the federal government. Another top leader of the party, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, was arrested in May.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationlegaltelecommunicationtelephonyCentral Bureau of Investigation

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?