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BJP targets Maran, Congress mum

Posted by on June 1, 2011 0 Comment

The Bharatiya Janata Party has attacked Textiles minister Dayanadhi Maran for his alleged role in the takeover of mobile operator Aircel by Maxis Communications when he was Telecom minister in the previous government of the United Progressive Alliance , even as Congress chose to remain silent.

BJP has raised four specific questions: Has Maxis Communications invested in Sun TV or any other company belonging to his family? Was the investment done through Astro group, a subsidiary of Maxis? Was the investment made before Maxis purchased Aircel or later? Is it a case of conflict of interest or not?

“We want answers from Maran. If there wasn’t any investment, he should tell with documents. The Prime Minister must also clarify his position. There are suspicious circumstances and raise several questions,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in the capital on Tuesday.

Prasad said FDI norms were changed when Maran was the minister and that Aircel got licences for 14 new areas.

However, when asked if BJP was seeking Maran’s resignation, Prasad said, “let the story build up. As of now we are not making any allegations and only raising questions.”

Maran, on his part has vigorously denied any wrongdoing. His position is that he has never deliberately withheld the application of Aircel for licence and spectrum and the allegation that delay was made to pressure the promoter of the telco to sell its stake to Maxis is false.

He has absolutely no shareholding or interest in any form in Sun Direct TV, which is a separate legal entity and the investment in Sun Direct TV was made when he was not even a minister.

Congress refused to comment over the issue. When asked about the party point of view, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said Maran has been asked a few questions, and he was in the best position to answer them.

“But I must mention here that the Joint Parliamentary Committee is doing its job. It will examine all issues including the telecom policy through the years,” the Congress spokesperson said. Economic Times

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