New Delhi, Jun 1: Dismissing allegations that his family-owned Sun TV Network received pay-offs from an overseas firm, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran today said he had not favoured any particular company in granting UASL licence when he was Telecom Minister.
Maran, a DMK nominee in the Union Council of Ministers, also claimed that no telecom company has ever invested in companies owned by his brother and media baron Kalanidhi Maran during his tenure as Telecom Minister between May, 2004 to May, 2007.
“I vouch that during my tenure as Minister of Communications and IT, I was totally impartial in taking decisions. I have not favoured any company over others. Neither any applicant company was allowed to jump the queue in grant of UASL licences nor there any loss to the exchequer,” he said in a statement here.
The allegations are “totally untrue and malicious,” he said.
Maran's statement came after Opposition parties like the BJP and AIADMK demanded his resignation in the wake of reports that Maran favoured Malaysia's Maxis group which had bought Chennai-based Aircel when he was Telecom Minister. The Minister said only companies fulfilling all the required conditions were given Letters of Intent in their own turn.
“Even the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has not mentioned any loss to the exchequer on account of issue of licenses in my tenure,” he said. Maran said no telecom company “directly or indirectly had ever invested in any of the companies owned by my brother during my tenure as Telecom Minister.”
“I was not even a Minister, when M/s Astro invested in Sun Direct in December 2007 as I had resigned on May 13, 2007. Needless to say, I own no shares or any fiduciary in any of these companies,” he said in the statement.
Maran said the practice followed then for grant of UASL licence to any applicant was that the applicant company had to satisfy all prescribed conditions in respect of net worth, funding pattern, business plan and debt-equity ratio.
“The applicant company should also not have a history of default in payment/violation of licence conditions in any service area,” he said.
Referring to the grant of UASL licence to Dishnet Wireless Limited (Aircel), he said before he took over as Telecom Minister there were “serious queries relating to funding potential of the company, its net worth and debt-equity ratio raised by the Department of Telecommunications and the application was under examination even before I became Minister.”
Maran said the grant of UASL licence applied for Aircel has been approved when the “file was submitted by the Department after thorough examination of all issues including legal aspects and the company became fully eligible for allotment.” PTI