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Maran meets PM, may be dropped from Cabinet

CNN-IBN
Jun 30, 2011 at 01:09pm IST

New Delhi: Union Textile Minister and DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday ahead of a likely Cabinet reshuffle. Sources have told CNN-IBN that Maran could be dropped in the reshuffle, which could have political repercussions for the United Progressive Alliance Government.

Sources say that Maran could be shown the door after his name cropped up in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, which has already led to the arrest of two senior DMK leaders - former telecom minister A Raja and party chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi. The Prime Minister is expected to carry out the Cabinet reshuffle in the first week of July.

Maran is in trouble over the 2G scam as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is building up a case against him. Maran was the teleocm minsiter in UPA-1 when the 2G licneces were allocated. A cornered DMK may also not be able to exert pressure on the UPA if Maran is dropped.

The CBI has already registered a preliminary enquiry in the spectrum allocated during 2001-07 and recorded the statement of former Aircel chief C Sivasankaran in which he alleged Maran allegedly arm twisted him to sell his stake to Maxis Communications and in return the Malaysian company reportedly invested close to Rs 600 crore in Maran family owned Sun TV.

Sources have said that Sivasankaran in his statement recorded on June 6, 2011 said that he was even willing to offload 49 per cent equity and keep 51 per cent stake of Aircel, but Maran strangulated his telecom business to the extent that he was forced to sell Aircel to Maxis and leave India.

According to sources, Sivasankaran also alleged that DOT officials deliberately stone walled his telecom license application in seven circles at Maran's behest. These licenses were then awarded to Aircel when Maxis took over controlling stake.

But Maran has maintained that he was innocent.

"I have never had to force anyone to do business or to sell the business. And moreover, let me tell you, if someone feels forced, they could have always gone to the court," said Maran.

Even the Joint Parliamentary Committee is looking into allegations against Maran. CBI Director AP Singh has briefed the JPC on the investigations so far and sources say DMK MP TR Baalu objected to Maran being named in the 2G scam. The objection lead to a ruckus but the JPC has now decided to summon Maran to defend himself.

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