Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata on Monday admitted that he did not share good “chemistry” with Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran but said he did not influence the selection of Ministers at the time formation of the second UPA government in 2009.
Against the backdrop of the leakage of the tapped telephone conversations of his and corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with various personalities, Mr. Tata appeared before the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer questions in connection with its probe into the 2G scam.
Referring to his letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi, in which he reportedly commended the then Telecom Minister, A. Raja, Mr. Tata was asked why did he not write to the Prime Minister about a Union Minister instead of a Chief Minister.
Asked how the letter came into public domain, Mr. Tata merely said Sunil Mittal (of Bharti Telecom) was the first to refer to the letter. But he did not blame anyone for the “leak,” sources said.
He maintained he would not have benefited from the leak.
When Ms. Radia was asked by the PAC about the letter, she said she was not aware of its contents as the letter was placed in a sealed envelope. She had only handed over Mr. Tata's letter to Mr. Karunanidhi.
The committee members also sought to know from the Tata Sons chairman why he wrote the letter when there was so much controversy surrounding Mr. Raja's decisions as Telecom Minister in 2007.
He said there was no controversy. But members pointed out that the letter was written after the cut-off date for submission of bids for 2G spectrum allocation was advanced and there were hectic communications between the Telecom Ministry, the PMO, the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Secretariat. Mr. Raja's predecessor, Dayanidhi Maran, and Mr. Tata clashed five years ago over Sun TV group — owned by Mr. Maran's brother Kalanidhi Maran — showing interest in acquiring equity stakes in the direct-to-home venture of Tatas — Tata Sky.