323 Phone lines used by Maran were in the name of BSNL chiefG.M. Chennai
Now pressure is mounting on Union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran to step down with the Left parties and the BJP pressing for his resignation and the Congress and DMK leadership refusing to come to his defense. Maran, under fire over allegations that he favoured service provider Aircel during his stint as telecom minister, is now caught in a fresh controversy over the alleged misuse of BSNL phone lines for the Sun network run by his brother.
However, Maran himself went on the offensive by dismissing the latest report about phone lines being diverted from his residence to benefit the Sun group as “a political conspiracy”. He demanded an apology and compensation of Rs 10 crore.
According to a petition filed in the Supreme Court, Maran allegedly forced the promoter of cellular service provider Aircel to sell out to Malaysian telecom company Maxis, which invested 599 crore in Sun DTH in return for 14 spectrum licenses.
The media report says, Maran had a virtual telephone exchange at his Boat Club house in 2007 and linked it to the Sun TV office on Anna Salai. There were 323 phone lines used by him, which were listed in the name of BSNL chief general manager, Chennai Maran denied the charges and sent a legal notice to the newspaper on Thursday demanding 10 crore compensation as well as an unconditional apology
The Left parties were the first to react to the newspaper report, which alleged that a virtual telephone exchange was run from Maran’s residence here by commandeering 323 ISDN-equipped BSNL lines for feeding digital audio and video data to Sun TV through 3.4km-long cable lines laid at government expense.
The CPM state committee passed a resolution on Thursday demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remove Maran and institute a CBI inquiry into the loss to the national exchequer on account of the twin scams.
BJP’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was “a simple case of bribery and quid pro quo”. He reiterated the party’s demand for Maran’s resignation and called on the Prime Minister to “break his silence” and ensure a fair CBI investigation. We have to see, whether P.M. orders for a CBI probe in this case.