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CBI probing Dayanidhi Maran for telecoms graft
NEW DELHI |
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Monday it is formally investigating former telecoms minister Dayanidhi Maran, his media mogul brother, and a Malaysian tycoon over their roles in a sprawling telecoms scandal that has damaged the government.
The CBI have raided the homes of Maran -- the second former telecoms minister to be probed -- and his brother, television network owner Kalanithi Maran, searching for documents related to the 2006 sale of phone company Aircel to Malaysian telecoms firm Maxis.
"There is a case of abuse of official position and battement for illegal gratification, bribes and illegal payment of money during his tenure as telecom minister," said CBI spokeswoman.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's second term has been hit by a series of graft scandals that have brought thousands onto the streets in protest and paralysed policymaking, diverting his attention from nurturing economic growth and pushing forward reforms.
Maran resigned from his post as textiles minister in July after the CBI began looking into allegations that he made money from the sale when he was telecom minister.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
The case also names Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan, owner of Maxis (MCB). Sun Network owner Kalanithi Maran allegedly took bribes from the Malaysian company, the CBI spokeswoman said.
"MC will continue to co-operate with the CBI in its investigation in full confidence that the allegations against it will prove to be unfounded and without basis," Maxis said in a statement.
One of those charged in the scandal is Maran's party colleague Andimuthu Raja, accused of taking bribes while telecoms minister in 2007-08 to favour some firms which wanted to buy mobile phone licences. Raja is in jail pending trial.
Under-selling of licences for kickbacks may have cost India $39 billion in revenue, as much as its annual defence budget, the CAG has said. Maran is being investigated as part of a broader probe into wrongdoing over a decade.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Additional reporting by Min Hun Fong in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
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