New probe: India’s former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran
INDIA, reeling from a telecom graft scandal that has forced the resignation of one minister, is conducting an investigation into the actions of his predecessor in the job.An official for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the agency was conducting a “preliminary investigation” into the activities of former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, who currently serves as textile minister in the Congress government.The inquiry was launched to “see if there is any evidence of any conspiracy, any rules flouted”, Dharini Mishra, a spokeswoman for the CBI, said.At the weekend, investigative magazine Tehelka published a cover story alleging that Maran’s family-owned Sun TV Network received kickbacks from a foreign firm in return for favours in granting mobile licences.News of the probe came a day after Maran, who served as telecom minister between May 2004 and May 2007, strongly rejected the Tehelka accusations.“I vouch that during my tenure as minister of communications and information technology, I was totally impartial in taking decisions. I have not favoured any company over others,” the southern Indian politician told reporters.The opposition has demanded Maran’s resignation over the magazine’s claims.Maran, who belongs to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, denied the report that a foreign firm had invested in businesses owned by his brother, media baron Kalanidhi Maran, during his tenure as telecom minister.In April, police charged Maran’s successor, A Raja, with abuse of power and conspiracy over accusations he rigged rules for the sale of second-generation (2G) mobile licences in 2008 to favour some firms.More than a dozen people including Raja, top government officials and business executives are in jail over the alleged fraud.The DMK party, to which Maran and Raja belong, is the second-biggest party in the national ruling coalition, but it was recently trounced in local polls in its home state of Tamil Nadu, mostly due to corruption scandals.Ends
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