Union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran is under pressure; if in Delhi the principal opposition party has demanded his ouster, in Chennai AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa upped the ante on Wednesday by asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sack him.
“Maran should put in his papers and face the charges levied against him,” said Jayalalithaa in her weekly interaction with the media.
Sadly for Maran, the DMK has maintained silence ever since HT broke news of him allegedly favouring certain telecom companies few weeks ago.
After recent reports alleged kickbacks to the Maran family-owned Sun TV network, there is a studied silence in the DMK, which is reeling under the shock of their patriarch Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi's arrest.
Karunanidhi’s focus is fixed on getting his daughter out of Tihar jail and it is unlikely that he would come to the aid of his nephew, especially since Sun TV network first publicised the 2G spectrum scam, when Maran’s relations with Karunanidhi family had soured.
Another sore point is a pronounced pro-AIADMK stance of the Sun TV network when counting of votes was going on after the recent assembly elections. While Raja is believed by partymen to have contributed to the party’s kitty, Maran, it is felt, largely served his personal and business interests.
The BJP has alleged that the Sun TV network was an indirect beneficiary of the decisions taken by Maran as the telecom minister in UPA I. He is alleged to have forced Malaysian telecom firm Maxis to cough up investments up to around Rs 600 crore in Sun DTH through its subsidiary Astro.
Maxis had bought 74% stake in Aircel when Maran was telecom minister. The company was later allotted different circles across India.