Union textiles minister, Dhayanidhi Maran is the latest
minister to have resigned following allegations of his role in the 2G scam, by allegedly
coercing entrepreneur Sivasanakara to sell his stake in Aircel to
Malaysia-based telecom operator Maxis, the latter which was speedily granted 2G
licenses. In return for the favour, the Maxis group invested Rs 600 crore in
Sun TV owned by the Maran family. Maran has also been accused of arm-twisting
PM Manmohan Singh to change the terms of the spectrum policy, and of setting up
a BSNL exchange in his home, to benefit the family-owned Sun network.
Though the CBI is clear about the role of Maran in the
Aircel issue, the investigative agency is yet to name Aircel / Maxis in the
issue. If the receiver of the investment for a special favour can be termed as
guilty, what should be the accountability of Maxi group. The CBI investigation
is one-sided at the moment. The agency could not go ahead with prosecuting many
industry leaders in India. Is it under pressure from the UPA government? Should
Manmohan Singh, the head of the government, be responsible?
Maran joins former telecom minister A Raja, Rajya Sabha
MP, Kanimozhi, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, as well as other top
of leading operators like Swan Telecom, Reliance Communications, Loop, and
Essar. Maran’s resignation also comes as the third blow for the DMK party,
after A Raja and Kanimozhi’s arrest.
CBI sources have said that Maran will be questioned
before the PE turns into an FIR and that he will be given a chance to defend
himself before the CBI.
This is Maran’s second resignation from the Union
Cabinet, after he first quit in 2007 over differences with the DMK when the
party voted him out of the Cabinet, when he was telecom minister. Maran made a
re-entry into the Cabinet in May 2009, joining as Union Textiles minister – his
However, Maran’s is indeed not the least of the
government’s troubles. According to reports, an NGO on Thursday moved the
Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe against current telecom minister Kapil Sibal
for allegedly reducing Reliance Communication’s penalty in connection with
violation of the UASL agreement for 2G licenses to Rs five crore from the
original penalty of Rs 650 crore. The NGO is also seeking a probe against
Attorney General G E Vahanvati, alleging that he favoured former telecom
minister A Raja, disregarding the Law ministry, when he was the Solicitor
In the past, the names of PM Manmohan Singh, Ratan Tata
and Anil Ambani have also cropped up for trial pertaining to the 2G scam,
although no decisive action has been taken on this front.
According to the CAG, the loss to the national exchequer
on account of the 2G scam – where licenses were given away in 2008 at 2001 rates is estimated to be Rs
1.76 lakh crore – although this figure is being contested by current telecom
minister, Kapil Sibal.
By Beryl M