“Changed policies to benefit Aircel, whose new buyer invested in Sun TV network”
Public Accounts Committee chairperson Murli Manohar Joshi on Friday accused Dayanidhi Maran of transferring all powers of the Group of Ministers to the Telecom Minister during his tenure and then changing policies to benefit Aircel, whose new buyer allegedly invested in his family-owned Sun TV network.
“Several documents were changed and it was accepted. All the powers that must have vested with the group of ministers were transferred to the Telecom Department. That is how the whole thing started,” Dr. Joshi told reporters here.
Dr. Joshi was examining the 2G spectrum allocation issue as PAC chairperson and submitted a report on April 30 in the mid of stiff opposition from the Congress, SP and BSP members.
The BJP, which had till now made A. Raja the main target of its attacks for anomalies in the 2G scam, has hit out at Mr. Maran in the wake of allegations that his family-owned Sun Direct TV received investments from Maxis Communications, a Malaysian company which had benefited from Aircel.
“Maran started a big correspondence for getting the terms of references changed and separating the pricing of the spectrum. He was the one who took away the power from the Group of Ministers to look into the various aspects of allocation of spectrum and policy of pricing,” Dr. Joshi said.
Dr. Joshi questioned how Mr. Maran had changed the policy.
He seemed to absolve Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of most of the responsibility of this wrongdoing, saying he may not have been aware of things due to this change.
“In my opinion, if at that very moment something should have been seriously thought about, then perhaps this serious issue could have been solved...I can't say if it would have happened or not, but at least the Prime Minister and others would have understood why it was being done.”
Sack Maran: BJP
Meanwhile, the BJP has demanded that Dr. Singh sack Mr. Maran if he did not resign on his own in the wake of allegations of a quid pro quo in awarding spectrum to Aircel.
“Maran has no right to continue. There are clear evidences that when the Malaysian company made the investment he was the Minister,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
Briefing reporters on resolutions adopted at the party's national executive meet, he said the BJP demanded action against all influential people involved in scams and corruption cases of the UPA government.
Terming the 2G as the biggest scam, he said the Opposition has had to take a tough stand, due to the ‘adamant attitude of the government.'
“Even the Supreme Court had to ask why silence was maintained. It's a conspiracy of silence and culpability of indifference,” he alleged, questioning why UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi did not speak on the corruption issue.
The BJP spokesman also alleged that a scam worth Rs. 85,000 crore in the Coal Ministry had been committed when the department was held by the Prime Minister.
He alleged that the government's attitude on the 2G scam was not to check corruption, but to cover it up.