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Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr: ‘Avenzoar’

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2G scam: Maran denies wrongdoing, opposition demands he quit

Wednesday June 01, 2011 11:25:40 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran Wednesday vehemently denied allegations of receiving kickbacks for issuing a 2G licence to private a operator when he was telecom minister 2004-07, even as an aggressive opposition raised a chorus for his resignation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the scam, got into action and said it had begun a preliminary enquiry and indicated that a case will be registered soon.

"It is totally untrue and malicious," Maran said in a letter issued here and denied that he was "partial to a particular company" in granting a licence.

Maran's denial comes in the wake of a report in Tehelka magazine that claimed that Maran in 2006 deliberately delayed clearing the licence to certain companies.

The allegations triggered demands by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, AIDMK and the Left for Maran's resignation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet.

The DMK leader held the telecom portfolio from May 2004 to May 2007 in the first United Progressive Alliance government.

"As the news items are far from truth, I have already sent defamation notices to the newspapers and television channels concerned," Maran said on allegations that his family-owned Sun TV Network was a beneficiary of pay-offs by a Malaysian company that benefited from equity sold by mobile service provider Aircel.

Maran is not the only DMK leader facing the heat in the 2G scam.

Former telecom minister A. Raja and DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi are in Tihar jail on corruption charges. A total of 14 people, including bureaucrats and corporate honchos are in jail in relation with the 2G allocation scam.

In its April 25 supplementary chargesheet, the CBI named Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the scam.

CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra told IANS the agency had started a preliminary inquiry on the Maran issue. "We are looking into the matter. Case can be registered only as per procedures. Summoning will take place after that," she said.

"CBI will file a case against the people involved, including Maran, in next 15 to 20 days," said a CBI source.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said prime minister should seek Maran's resignation.

"The prime minister should ask for Dayanidhi Maran's resignation from the cabinet. I am sure the prime minister would have asked. Maran should resign and face the legal proceedings," Jayalalithaa said.

The BJP also alleged that Sun TV Network belonging to Maran's brother Kalanithi Maran was an indirect beneficiary of the decisions taken by him during his tenure as the telecom minister.

According to BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad, Malaysian company Maxis Communication bought 74 percent stake in Aircel when Maran was the telecom minister and the company was later allotted more circles to operate. Maxis Communication through its subsidiary Astro invested around Rs.600 crore in Sun DTH belonging to the Sun TV Network.

The BJP alleged there is a conflict of interest in the decisions taken by Maran during his tenure as telecom minister and the subsequent investment in a company owned by his brother.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat also demanded a "serious investigation" into the matter.

But, in his two-page letter, Maran said : "As the allegations are getting focused sharply now and some political parties are also joining them, I would fail in my duty if I do not place the facts in their right perspective in the public domain."

"I vouch that during my tenure as minister of communication and IT, I was totally impartial in taking decisions. I have not favoured any company over others. Neither any applicant company was followed to jump the queue in the grant of UAS licenses nor was there any loss to the exchequer," he said in the letter.

"Only companies fulfilling all the required conditions were given LOIs in their own turn. Even CAG has not mentioned any loss to the exchequer an account of issue of licenses in my tenure," he added.




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