Textile minister Dayanidhi Maran met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday, triggering speculation that he could be dropped from the council of ministers whenever a Cabinet reshuffle takes place.
Maran is in trouble over a CBI probe into his tenure as the telecom minister between 2004 and 2007, when he allegedly forced owner of Aircel C Sivasankaran to sell the company to Maran’s Malaysia-based friend T Ananda Krishnan in 2006. Within four months of the spectrum allocation, Astro — a sister company of Maxis — got Cabinet nod to buy R675 crore equity in Sun Direct DTH, a firm owned by Maran’s family.
Maran, however, rubbished suggestions that he met the PM to offer his resignation or to discuss a reshuffle of portfolios.
“I briefed the PM on my department and I am still a Cabinet minister,” he said. DMK sources did not rule out the possibility of Maran meeting the PM to explain his position in the wake of the CBI’s probe on the allegations against him.
Maran had earlier said he would resign only if the CBI filed a case against him.
In his statement to the CBI on June 6, Sivasankaran reiterated the charge that he was forced to sell the firm. Maran denied the allegation, saying Sivasankaran was keen on selling the company. CBI sources had indicated that they would question Maran if they found substance in the allegations.
Meanwhile, Maran filed defamation suits against newspapers and magazines for carrying stories against him.
With the PM telling a group of editors he intended to act strongly against corruption, DMK sources expect Maran could be in soup like fellow party members, former telecom minister A Raja and DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi, who are both currently lodeged in Tihar jail on charges of corruption.