Spectrum row hits Congress-DMK ties
As raids in the Telecom Ministry over the alleged irregularities in allocating spectrum continued for the second day on Friday, the Congress-DMK ties appeared to have taken a downturn. Shekhar Iyer and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi report.india Updated: Oct 24, 2009 01:27 IST
As raids in the Telecom Ministry over the alleged irregularities in allocating spectrum continued for the second day on Friday, the Congress-DMK ties appeared to have taken a downturn.
A day after raiding the offices of top officials of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in Delhi, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided 19 premises of telecom companies and department officials in eight cities.
The DMK remained tight-lipped after Telecom Minister A. Raja of the DMK refused to step down. But the party raised the pitch over Kerala’s plan to replace the aging Mullaperyar dam and the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Tamil Nadu has been opposing the building of a new dam, as it may reduce the flow of water to the state.
Telecom operators send and receive signals using the spectrum, or frequencies. But as the number of frequencies is limited, they need to be allocated to different service providers against a fee.
The allegation against the Telecom Ministry is that it allocated spectrum to inexperienced telecom operators, leading to a possible loss of Rs 22,000 crore to the exchequer.
The DMK has already been upset with the Congress for the perceived sleights after the Lok Sabha elections. Now, DMK patriarch and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the family of his second wife, Rajathi, are said to be very unhappy.
Karunanidhi’s daughter and Member of Parliament K. Kanimozhi, who is said to be close to Raja, accompanied a delegation of TN parliamentarians to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday to apprise him of their visit to Sri Lanka. DMK sources
said she could have utilised the opportunity to convey her party’s concern over the CBI raids.
DMK leaders loyal to Karunanidhi’s sons from his first marriage, M.K. Alagiri and M.K. Stalin, were said to be happy that Raja was in trouble.
But they also wondered whether the Congress was trying to put the DMK in a tight spot ahead of the 2011 assembly polls that might be held in early 2010.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting from the opposition demanding Raja’s resignation. BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad asked PM to drop the minister.
Maran’s tenure also on CBI scanner
Sources said the CBI on Friday seized documents related to licences issued even during the tenure of Raja’s predecessors. The CBI officials also visited offices of all the firms that were issued new licences.
“CBI officials visited our offices and took away copies of the licence agreements and documents related to assignment of spectrum,” said head of a telecom firm that was issued licences in January 2008.
(With inputs from Abhishek Sharan, Manoj Gairola in Delhi)