New Delhi/Chennai, Jun 1: Political parties today mounted pressure on Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran demanding his resignation in the wake of reports that his family-owned Sun TV Network was a beneficiary of pay-offs by an overseas telecom firm.
A day after asking Maran to reply to charges against him, BJP shot off a letter to CBI Director A P Singh seeking his answers to certain "very disturbing" questions on the issue in connection with the role of Maran, who was Telecom Minister from May, 2004 to May, 2007.
"BJP demands the resignation of Maran immediately and if he does not resign, the Prime Minister should sack him," BJP General Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda, who wrote the letter on behalf of the party, told reporters in New Delhi.
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa said "Maran should quit and face legal proceedings" even as she demanded the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the issue.
"I am quite sure the Prime Minister would know what has to be done and I am sure he would do it. The Prime Minister 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," she said.
After meeting Jayalalithaa, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat demanded a "serious investigation" into the allegations against Maran.
The BJP's letter sought to know whether mobile service provider Aircel was given license for large number of new areas after Malaysian company Maxis Communications acquired 74 per cent stake in it when Maran was Telecom Minister.
The UPA government, in which DMK is a constituent, has maintained a studied silence over the issue while Congress has washed its hands off the matter.
The BJP also wanted to know whether the 2G spectrum was granted during Maran's tenure as Telecom Minister in 2005 to the company along with license at the 2001 rate.
"Is it a fact that one of the group companies of the said foreign investor further invested a huge amount in Sun Direct TV, owned by the family members of Maran, when he was Telecom Minister?" it asked.
The party also wanted to know from the CBI whether it was a fact that the said investment was made through purchase of equity at a very high premium.
Seeking expeditious investigation into the issues concerned with Maran's role as Telecom Minister, Nadda said, "These questions are in public domain relating to gross abuse of authority, impropriety and also corruption. Maran is evading all replies."
Nadda alleged that "scandal after scandal" was becoming an integral part of the Manmohan Singh government.
"Since we raised this issue yesterday, Maran has gone underground, the Prime Minister is keeping to himself while Sonia Gandhi is mum," he said.
Congress has refused to comment on the allegations, but Maran had a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday night after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.
Maran has also slapped a legal notice on Tehelka weekly for carrying a story on the issue which he said was "totally false, baseless and defamatory". PTI