After reports surfaced that he is under CBI's scanner for his alleged role in 2G scam, textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran sought to put up a brave front. He rejected demands for his resignation and dismissed all allegations against him. His party however appeared more shaken.
Struggling to recover from the election rout in Tamil Nadu, senior DMK leaders said their patriarch M Karunanidhi's priority was to get his daughter Kanimozhi out of the Tihar jail on bail. Any political decision by Karunanidhi was not possible until Kanimozhi was out of jail, they added.
Though he tried to put up a stout defence, Maran was reportedly shaken by TN chief minister Jayalalithaa's open call on Wednesday to the Prime Minister to seek his resignation.
Adding to his woes, BJP general secretary JP Nadda wrote a letter to CBI director AP Singh seeking his answers to certain "very disturbing" questions on the issue in connection Maran's role as telecom minister between May 2004 and May, 2007.
Jayalalitha attack on him saw DMK leaders asking Maran to go public with his denial. He issued a statement denying his role in the scam after he met telecom minister Kapil Sibal. Two days ago, he had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and called on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last week.
Jayalalithaa said "Maran should quit and face legal proceedings…I am quite sure the PM would know what has to be done and I am sure he would do it. The PM should ask for Maran's resignation from the cabinet. I am sure the Prime Minister will do it, if he has not already done it."
After meeting Jayalalithaa in Chennai, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat also demanded a "serious investigation" into the allegations against Maran.
"The BJP demands the resignation of Maran immediately and if he does not resign, the Prime Minister should sack him," Nadda said.
"He won't resign," a DMK source said even as Maran told his party leaders that the allegations were "baseless." But other DMK leaders conceded that Maran might have to quit if the CBI quizzes him and the UPA government wants to avoid another storm before Parliament's monsoon, beginning in July.
Maran apparently told his party leaders that companies that backed jailed Raja are out to "fix" him so that he "pays" the price for the troubles they faced during his tenure as telecom minister.
Last week, Maran moved the Madras HC for a direction to a section of the media to pay R1 crore towards damages for publishing articles that are allegedly defamatory.