Trouble for Maran;grant of DTH to Sun Direct under CBI radar

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Dayanidhi Maran
New Delhi, Oct 23: After his alleged involvement in the 2G scam and leasing of telephone lines, former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran's 'role' in sanctioning of spectrum to Sun Direct is now being looked into by the CBI.

The agency had sought the files from Department of Telecom related to spectrum allocation made to direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasters by seeking details of sanction of bandwidth.

The decision to probe the DTH broadcasters was taken after agency sleuths found that some of the telecom companies, under probe in the 2G scam, were also broadcasters of the service, official sources said.

The files pertained to Dish TV India Limited, Reliance Big TV Pvt Limited, Bharti Multi-media Limited, Bharti Business Channel Pvt Limited, Doordarshan, SunDirect TV Pvt Limited and Tata Sky Limited.

However, barring Sun Direct, all other files were returned by the CBI to the authority and sources in the know said allocation of spectrum to the Tamil Nadu-based TV channel was being looked into. The CBI recently registered a case against Maran, his brother Kalanithi and two others besides three companies for allegedly receiving favours during the DMK leader's tenure as telecom minister.

Searches were carried out on Oct 10 at various places including residential premises of Maran, who resigned earlier this year as textiles minister. The CBI has also registered a preliminary enquiry to probe into allegations of allocation of over 300 telephone lines to the residence of Maran in Chennai and illegally linking with a television channel owned by his brother.

These 323 residential lines were in the name of BSNL General Manager and connecting the Boat House residence of Maran with office of Sun TV through a dedicated underground cable during his tenure as telecom minister, CBI alleged.

The sources said these lines were not ordinary telephone lines but more costly ISDN, capable of carrying huge data thus facilitating faster transmission of TV news and programmes across the globe. The CBI alleged that a stealth cable was used to connect the residence of the Minister with Sun TV office to give impression that these lines were for the Minister but actually they were used by the channel.

PTI

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