But the Hindustan Times has in its possession incriminating evidence that points Maran did indeed bend backward to favour his friend. The documents reveal that Maran used his influence to block giving telecom license to the Indian promoter of Aircel, C Sivasankaran. He managed to block this until the point he sold Aircel to the Malaysia-based business owned by billionaire Ananda Krishnan. Ananda Krishnan shares very strong business relationship with Sun TV that is owned by the Maran family.
As soon as Sivasankaran moved out of Aircel, Maran tweaked the rules leading to Aircel getting the license with no hassles. The matter was initially brought to light when Astro, a group company of Maxis got the nod to invest Rs 675 crore in Sun TV by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). This huge investment materialized within a period of four months of Dishnet Wireless (now merged into Aircel) gaining licenses. This approval came through during Maran"s tenure as Minister for Communications and IT.
Maran denied all the accusations and stated that he had not acted partially with any party. He also argued the points made against him and said that he was not the minister when Astro invested in Sun TV, though the fact remains that the CCEA approval holds extreme importance.
The favouritism was revealed further when Dishnet"s two attempts to acquire licenses was rejected under the ownership of Sivasankaran. Evidence of Maran"s one-sided stance was revealed in a note that said, “Discussed with MOC&IT (minister). These files are returned with the direction that the director should ascertain all showcause notices/ advisory letters issued to the above company or companies belonging to the group and the nature of default before any view is taken."
After Sivasankaran"s exit, Maran is also alleged to have made a u-turn on the rules and procedures to favour him and his associates.