BJP dismisses Maran’s defence as ‘humbug’

The BJP has ripped Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran’s defence against allegations of corruption over the allotment of licenses to telecom operator Aircel.

Maran had said the investment by Maxis — a Malaysian telecom operator which owns Aircel — into the Maran group cannot be termed as a bribe since the investment happened six months after he stepped down as India’s telecom minister.

It is alleged that Maran favored Aircel — which was one of tens of applicants in line for telecom licenses — by delaying the grant of 2G licenses and ensuring that the firm got licenses across the country.

In return, it was alleged, the Maxis group (the parent of Aircel) invested in the Sun TV network, controlled by Maran’s brother Kalanidhi Maran.

Maran had pointed out that he resigned in May 2007, while the investment was done only in December 2007.

BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad dismissed the argument as mere “humbug” and called it a case of bribery.

“It is a pure case of bribery and quid pro quo,” he said, asking the Prime Minister to take action.

Prasad urged the PM not to repeat his “previous mistake” of ignoring corruption allegations against members of the Cabinet.

Aircel had applied for pan-India licenses in 2006, when Maran was the telecom minister.