Pushed to the wall after CBI named him in the 2G spectrum allocation case, high-profile Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran on Thursday resigned from the Union Cabinet, becoming the second DMK casualty in the scam.
44-year-old Maran met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a Cabinet meeting and tendered his resignation following a word from DMK chief M Karunanidhi, highly-placed sources said.
Maran’s continuance in the Cabinet became untenable after the CBI in its status report on the 2G scam case on Wednesday, charged him with “forcing” a Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel to a Malaysian firm in 2006 during his tenure as Telecom Minister in UPA-I.The Prime Minister is believed to have had a word with DMK Parliamentary Party chief T R Baalu Thursday morning and conveyed to him that the DMK leadership should be apprised of the position that Maran cannot continue in the cabinet.
Baalu, who is in Delhi, is understood to have conveyed this to Karunanidhi who later asked Maran to put in his papers.
It was business as usual for Maran in the morning as he attended the Cabinet meeting during which he abstained himself for a brief while when the issue of licence for FM channels came up.
Maran went back home from the Cabinet meeting and returned later to give his resignation to the Prime Minister on the DMK chief’s direction.
Maran, son of late Union Minister Muralosi Maran, is a grand nephew of Karunanidhi.
With this, Maran becomes the second DMK minister to step down for alleged involvement in 2G scam.
Former Telecom Minister A Raja was forced to resign in November, 2010 when the CAG indicted him in the scam.
Karunanidhi’s daughter and DMK MP Kanimozhi and Raja are currently in Tihar jail for their alleged involvement in the scam.
This is the second time Maran is quitting the Cabinet.
The first time he quit was in 2007 when the DMK decided to withdraw him from the Cabinet after differences cropped up within the DMK’s first family.
Later, he made a re-entry into the Cabinet in May, 2009 after the elections, but got only the Textiles portfolio.
The CBI, in its report, also said that during 2004-07 when Maran was telecom Minister, Sivasankaran, was forced to sell the stake in Aircel to a Malaysian firm Maxis Group.
There was intense speculation for the past one month about Maran’s continuance in the Union Cabinet after reports alleging that the family-owned Sun TV received pay-offs from a Malaysian firm in return for the spectrum alloted to it during Maran’s tenure surfaced.