In direct conflict of interest with his family’s satellite TV business, former communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran took complete control of granting spectrum to satellite channels and telecom firms with the stroke of a pen.
Spectrum is the lifeline of any telecom and satellite network.
HT is in possession of documents that show Maran directed the secretary of the telecommunications department (DoT) to issue a note that all the cases for grant of spectrum would be approved by the minister.
“(Minister of communication and IT) has directed that the following type of cases should be submitted to him via member (technology)/secretary (telecom), for approval, (i) frequency assignment for telecom service providers while granting licences; (ii) frequencies for terrestrial broadcasting and uplinking of satellite TV channels,” said the note signed on January 31, 2005, by the DoT secretary.
With this note Maran got all the powers to assign frequencies to favour friends and to create roadblocks for others.
Maran did not reply to emails sent by Hindustan Times for his response.
Experts say this is a clear evidence of Maran taking unilateral powers to grant spectrum for telecom and satellite channels. “This is a clear subversion of set principals of conducting business in any ministry or department,” said a former secretary of DoT.
“Any change or deviation from set precedence has to be for valid reasons and there is no case for ad-hocism, especially where there’s conflict of interest,” said BK Syngal, former CMD of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (now Tata Communications).