BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
New Delhi: A day after deposition of former Telecom Secretary Nripendra Mishra before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the delay in granting new licenses to Aircel in 2004-05, Union Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran today handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Misra, who was telecom secretary from February 1, 2004, to March 30, 2005, told the CBI that he had no role in the matter of the delay of licences and he merely complied with the minister’s orders relating to scrutiny of Aircel applications by sending them to the relevant departmental sections. While leaving office, he directed his officials that as and when the scrutiny sought by the minister is over, the matter be placed before his successor. This was the last note he wrote on March 30, 2005, his last day in office.
The CBI’s status report on the 2G scam filed before the Supreme Court yesterday says that it was Maran who forced C Sivasankaran to sell his company to Maxis of Malaysia. The CBI report does not address the conflict of interest issue raised by Sivasankaran while pointing out that Maran’s refusal to grant Aircel licenses forced him to sell out — Siva pointed out that within a few months of Maxis getting licenses from Maran, a group company Astro picked up a stake in his brother’s Sun Network.
Maran is believed to have taken this decision after getting clear instructions from the DMK central leadership, which also met in Chennai to take a decision on his continuance in the UPA-II government.
His resignation comes a week ahead of the proposed restructuring of the Central Cabinet led by the Prime Minister, which aims at clearing the image of the corruption-tainted UPA-II government.
Shortly after the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting, several top ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Law Minister V Moily, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Home Minister P Chidambaram, met again at the residence of the prime minister to decide on Maran’s future.
The previous meeting of the Union Cabinet was also attended by Maran, who left the meeting halfway and returned to his official residence.
The Congress Core Group had yesterday met at the Prime Minister’s residence and is believed to have discussed the issue.
Maran’s resignation will further strain Congress-DMK ties, which is not in the best terms following the arrest and jailing of M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and that of his trusted man A Raja.
Maran was the communications minister in 2004-07.
Earlier in the day, BJP leader Arun Jaitley had said that Maran had run out of options and he should quit. He further added that the Prime Minister cannot look away after the developments in connection with the 2G scam.
AIADMK too had said that there was no use expecting Maran to take responsibility and the Prime Minister should simply drop him.