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Jun 02, 2011 at 10:32pm IST

2G scam: Maran challenges conspiracy theory

Chennai: Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran on Thursday challenged the conspiracy theory over the allegations of pay-offs to family-owned Sun TV Network by Maxis Group in 2006, when he was the telecom minister.

"I was in political wilderness when the deal happened. I should be given a chance to prove my innocence. There's a conspiracy against me," said Maran in a press conference in Chennai on Thursday.

ALSO SEE Sun TV shares crash after 2G taint on Maran

Maran was reacting against the allegations that he favoured Maxis Communications, which owns a controlling stake in Aircel, in return for which Maxis invested in Maran's family business.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have started a "preliminary investigation" against Maran, who was telecom minister from 2004 to 2007, CBI sources said.

ALSO SEE Dayanidhi Maran's statement on 2G scam accusations

Maran, however, in a statement on Wednesday, said "No Telecom Company has invested directly or indirectly in companies owned by my brother when I was the telecom minister. I had resigned as minister when Ms Astro invested in Sun Direct in December 2007."

But the CBI dragnet is tightening around Maran. The CBI could record Shiva Group Chairman C Sivasankaran's statement under section 161 of the CrPC next week. Sivasankaran has already deposed before the CBI over the Aircel-Maxis Sun Direct TV deal.

The BJP, the AIADMK and the CPI(M) have demanded that Maran should resign as the Union Minister over his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation.

The BJP has demanded action against Maran and once against criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for trying to save tainted minister.

"The Prime Minister tried to save A Raja earlier...he is in jail right now. So, PM should seriously act against Maran, else the people will definitely take note of his honesty and credibility," said BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad.

"The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) should ask for Dayanidhi Maran's resignation from the Cabinet. I am sure the Prime Minister will do it if he has already not done it," Jayalalithaa said in Chennai on Wednesday.

"I think it requires a serious investigation. And I hope that the Prime Minister will immediately get it investigated," said Prakash Karat.

Shares in broadcaster Sun TV on Thursday fell more than 31 per cent after media reports said the founder's brother, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran, was named in a lawsuit related to the telecoms probe, further embarrassing a coalition government mired in a series of scandals.