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2G scam: Dayanidhi Maran quits

Jul 7, 2011

Pushed to the wall after CBI named him in
the 2G spectrum allocation case, high-profile
textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran today
resigned from the Union cabinet, becoming
the second DMK casualty in the scam.
Forty-four-year-old Maran met Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh after a cabinet
meeting and tendered his resignation
following a word from DMK chief M
Karunanidhi, highly-placed sources said.
Maran's continuance in the cabinet became
untenable after the CBI in its status report
on the 2G scam case yesterday, charged him
with "forcing" a Chennai-based telecom
promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in
Aircel to a Malaysian firm in 2006 during his
tenure as telecom minister in UPA-I.
The prime minister is believed to have had a
word with DMK parliamentary party chief TR
Baalu this morning and conveyed to him
that the DMK leadership should be apprised
of the position that Maran cannot continue
in the cabinet.
Baalu, who is in Delhi, is understood to have
conveyed this to Karunanidhi who later
asked Maran to put in his papers.
It was business as usual for Maran in the
morning as he attended the Cabinet meeting
during which he abstained himself for a
brief while when the issue of licence for FM
channels came up.
He kept himself away on account of conflict
of interest because his brother Kalanidhi
Maran runs a media empire that includes FM
channels in various languages.
Maran went back home from the cabinet
meeting and returned later to give his
resignation to the prime minister on the
DMK chief's direction.
Maran, son of late Union minister Muralosi
Maran, is a grand nephew of Karunanidhi.
With this, Maran becomes the second DMK
minister to step down for alleged
involvement in 2G scam. Former telecom
minister A Raja was forced to resign in
November, 2010 when the CAG indicted him
in the scam.
Karunanidhi's daughter and DMK MP
Kanimozhi and Raja are currently in Tihar jail
for their alleged involvement in the scam.
This is the second time Maran is quitting the
cabinet. The first time he quit was in 2007
when the DMK decided to withdraw him
from the cabinet after differences cropped
up within the DMK's first family.
Later, he made a re-entry into the cabinet in
May, 2009 after the elections, but got only
the Textiles portfolio.
The CBI, in its report, also said that during
2004-07 when Maran was telecom minister,
Sivasankaran, was forced to sell the stake in
Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group.
There was intense speculation for the past
one month about Maran's continuance in
the Union Cabinet after reports alleging that
the family-owned Sun TV received pay-offs
from a Malaysian firm in return for the
spectrum alloted to it during Maran's tenure
surfaced.