New Delhi, July 7: A well known amateur radio operator, Dayanidhi Maran joins a growing list of top politicians and corporate honchos to be felled by the 2G spectrum scam in which DMK was further dealt a body blow with its two leaders already behind bars.
Maran is the second union minister to resign after his party colleague A Raja quit as Telecom minister in November last in connection with the scam. Raja is lodged in Tihar jail which also had DMK supremo Karunanidh's daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, among the prison inmates for their alleged involvement.
The resignation of 44-year-old Maran, a savvy politician and grand-nephew of Karunanidhi, as Union Textiles minister marked another episode that has charged both politics in Delhi and Tamil Nadu from the time a string of alleged irregularities in the telecom scam that has caused loss to the state exchequer surfaced. He is a former Telecom minister.
At the heart of the second generation spectrum scam is the issue of 2G licenses being allocated to private telecom players at throwaway prices in 2008.
The CAG said the spectrum scam, in which Rules and procedures were flouted, has cost the government Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. Raja's successor Kapil Sibal however contends that the “notional” losses quoted are a result of erroneous calculations and insists that the actual losses are nil. Kanimozhi has been named by the CBI as a co-conspirator with A Raja.
Former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja's former personal secretary and close aide R K Chandolia are also among the accused in the 2G scam.
The corporate honchos who have been allegedly involved in the scam are Shahid Usman Balwa, former Director of Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB); Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director of Unitech Ltd and Unitech Wireless; Gautam Doshi, Group MD, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group(ADAG); Hari Nair, Senior Vice-President, ADAG; Surendra Pipara, Senior Vice-President, ADAG and Reliance Telecom Ltd and Vinod Goenka, Director, Swan Telecom.
This is the second time that Maran is quitting the Union Cabinet. The first time he quit was in 2007 when the DMK decided to withdraw him from the Cabinet when he was the Telecom minister after differences cropped up within the DMK's first family.
Maran, a Lok Sabha MP from Chennai Central, made a re-entry into the Cabinet in May, 2009 after general elections but did not get his old portfolio and got the Textiles ministry.
Articulate, well-heeled, well-educated, young politician armed with impressive degrees and impressive lineage, Maran, entered national politics in 2004. An economics graduate, he is politician, journalist and scriptwriter late Murasoli Maran's son and media baron and founder of Sun Network Kalanidhi Maran's younger brother.
Murasoli Maran had been an MP for 36 years and a minister in three different governments at the Centre.
In May 2007, the DMK withdrew Maran from the Cabinet, after passing a resolution against him for “violating party discipline and tarnishing the party's image.”
The action came against the backdrop of an opinion poll published in the Dinakaran, a newspaper owned by Maran's brother Kalanidhi, which said that Karunanidhi's younger son MK Stalin was more suited to succeed the father than older son MK Azhagiri or daughter Kanimozhi.
Protestors, alleged to be Azhagiri supporters, burnt down the Dinakaran office.
Maran was also the man who made talk cheap. And persuaded big companies to invest in Indian Telecom and IT. When he quit in 2007, Industry said it was disappointed. Born on December 5, 1966 in Kumbakonam, Dayanidhi Maran had the best of education in Chennai. He schooled at Don Bosco and got a BA degree in Economics from Loyola College.
He is a well-known HAM(an Amateur Radio Operator). His HAM Radio Callsign is VU2DMK. He had his Schooling with Don Bosco, Egmore, Chennai. PTI