After Kalaignar TV, Now it is Sun TV in 2G Scam


22 Mar 2011
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today asked the Government to explain whether Sun TV network owned by the family of Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran had gained from pay-offs by a Malaysian company which benefited from equity sold by Aircel.

"There are new scandals in the UPA government everyday. A new scandal is on the verge of being exposed. The cupboard of corruption of the UPA is overflowing and more skeletons are dying to come out," BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Maran should also make it known if this was not tantamount to a case of 'conflict of interest' if his family-owned companies got investments from the Malaysian firm directly or through its subsidiaries. "We have some additional information but we prefer to ask Maran questions and not making any allegations at this stage", Prasad said.

He said it was during Maran's tenure as Communications Minister that the pricing of the telecom licencing and spectrum was taken away from the Group of Ministers, allowing the Communications Ministry to have a final say. This was the root of 2G Spectrum allocation, he said.

He said during Maran’s tenure as Telecom Minister, the FDI norm was changed and the telecom sector FDI norm was increased to 74 per cent. Aircel, a telecom company which only had a license for Tamil Nadu, later got licence for 14 new areas.

"Earlier, the Prime Minister had said on 26 October 2009 that A Raja is innocent when the CBI had started the inquiry (into 2G spectrum allocation). We would request Manmohan Singh to learn from his past mistakes. Some questions are being raised. Please reply to them," Prasad said.

Prasad said if Maran had "misused his dominant position" as a minister, his actions would come under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He wondered why routing of slush money was increasingly being done by companies owned by DMK leaders, be it Kalaignar TV (in which Kanimozhi has a 20 per cent stake) or Sun Network.

The Congress refused to enter into the controversy, with its spokesperson Manish Tewari saying "If a question has been asked from the Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, obviously he will be the best person to answer it."

It is learnt that Maran met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

At the same time, Tewari indicated that irregularities, if any, during Maran's tenure could be looked into by the Joint Parliament Committee which is looking into the 2G spectrum allocation scam. Tewari himself is a member of the JPC.

Asked about the BJP demands on the Maran issue, Tewari said that the JPC which has been formed after the winter session of Parliament was washed out over the opposition demand, was having stakeholders from all political parties.

"I don't think the agenda of the JPC should be set through a press conference" was the brief refrain of Tewari when asked whether JPC should call Maran before it.

Meanwhile, Maran slapped a legal notice on Tehelka magazine over a report in this regard.
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