New Delhi: Union Textile minister Dayanidhi Maran on Friday hit back at the Opposition over the allegations that he set up a BSNL exchange for his SUN TV Network’s use.
Angry over the allegations, DMK chief Karunanidhi, on his 88th birthday, said, “Bad friendship could end in trouble”.
It could be a veiled warning to the Congress this after indications that his nephew too could be in trouble after a raja and his daughter.
“Those cadres who have been with us and dedicated themselves to social and political renaissance should stand by us and those who forget what we have done and what we stand for should know that bad friendship will end in trouble,” said Karunanidhi.
The DMK’s defence comes as Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran comes under fire, first the aircel maxis deal and now an illegal telephone exchange for exclusive use of his family owned Sun TV. Maran has hit out at detractors.
“I have never helped anyone. If someone invests in my brother’s company when I was in political wilderness this is as per the CBI enquiry. I have no shares, I have not benefited anyone. I have not done any thing wrong,” said Maran.
Maran has slapped a legal notice on the New Indian express which first published the allegations. The department of telecom is sitting on a secret note of the CBI since September 2007. The note says Maran misused his position to cause a huge loss to the central government. The note was put up for action to A Raja.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has been sitting on a secret note of the CBI suggesting taking further action against Maran by the DoT. The note dated September 10, 2007 says Maran misused the telephone connections originally meant for his residence but used subsequently by the SUN TV network, thereby causing huge loss to the Central Government. The note was put up for action to former telecom minister A Raja.
The CBI note says over three 300 connections were issued in the name of Chief General Manager (CGM) of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Chennai but the connections were provided at Maran’s Boat Club Avenue residence.
The separate telephone exchange with all ISDN lines were used by SUN TV with cables being laid from the minister’s office to the Sun TV office. The exchange was programmed in such a way that no one other then authorised BSNL staff were aware of its existence and expenditure for the entire operation were picked up by BSNL.
“Only only one BSNL connection was provided when I was a minister and member of Parliament at the residence,” said Maran.
This is not the first time though that these allegations were made. In fact in the 2009 election campaign AIADMK J Jayalalithaa had used the issue to take on the DMK and now the allegations only add fuel to the opposition fire.
“This was started by Maran when he was a minister. He made the pricing os spectrum a separate issue,” alleged senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
It is clear that there was an obvious clash of interest in allocating the telecom portfolio to a media baron. While the results are there for all to see, in the midst of the opposition offensive against Maran and his defence, the political question is how will the government and the party now react. Can these fresh allegations be brushed aside or will the government be now forced to act?
Indian Express dares Maran to sue
Chennai ,June 4: The New Indian Express with clinching evidence has challenged Dhayanidhi Maran to go ahead with his defamation suit. The newspaper and its sister publication Dinamani had revealed the contents of CBI report which unearthed a home exchange that operated from his residence which was linked to his brother’s TV station for sending voice data. The news publication was confronted by a furious Maran who asked the newspaper to verify the clean chit given by the then BSNL GM (operations). “Why cant you get this letter?” he asked. The TNIE decided to verify the claim of Maran by just going to BSNL website and doing a few searches and the truth just tumbled out.
Here is excerpt of the challenge by the newspaper.
“The CBI report gives the specific numbers of the 323 BSNL ISDN lines installed in Maran’s Boat Club home. But, Meenalochiny’s letter says only one line – bearing 24371500 – and no other, was installed in his home. If what she says is untrue, Maran’s defence collapses. Here is the evidence that clinches that Meenalochiny’s letter is incorrect.
Go to Chennai Telephones directory inquiry search at http://18.104.22.168: 8181/CIPDQ.aspx. And type ‘Dayanidhi Maran MP’ in the name column and click. You will get this: Telephone No: 24371515; DAYANIDHI MARAN MP; 3/1, BOAT CLUB 1ST AVENUE, RA PURAM, CHENNAI, 600028. Note the number that appears. It is 24371515. But Meenalochiny mentions only 24371500 – not 24371515 – in Maran’s home. Now go to the same web page. Fill the name as ‘CGM Chennai Telephones’ with the Boat Club address of Maran. You will get this: Telephone No: 24371500; CGM CHENNAI TELEPHONES RES OF 3/1, BOAT CLUB 1ST AVENUE, RA PURAM, CHENNAI. 600028.
So, it is incorrect to say that only one BSNL line was installed in Maran’s home. The BSNL line, 2437 1500, is not in Maran’s home, but in the name of CGM Chennai Telephones. The other line installed in Maran’s home and name even today is 24371515. This destroys Meenalochiny’s claim that only 24371500 is installed in Maran’s home. The number 24371515 is no ordinary number. The CBI talks about the criticality of this number thus: “As a sample study it is learnt that 48,72,027 units of calls have emanated from one telephone No 24371515 in the month of March, 2007 alone, which is indicative of massive multi-media transfer in the underlying connections.” Even granting she was under pressure to respond within 48 hrs, Meenalochiny could not have missed this No 24371515, because, first, out of the 323 lines, this number has been tracked by the CBI for its use and, next, it appears on the Chennai Telephones website even today. Why was this omitted then? Because mentioning this number means admitting the CBI case. And more. The CBI has unearthed the fact that with ‘2437′ as the common first four digits a mini-home telephone exchange with 323 lines was created at Maran’s home and that, by a secret underground cable, they were linked to SUN TV. In the entire Chennai Telephones only 323 lines have ‘2437′ as the common first four digits. If Meenalochiny is correct, there was, and even now there is, only one line in the whole Chennai Telephones circle which starts with ‘2437′! Why such an exclusive number without any companion numbers for Maran only? Only she can explain the deficits in her letter; or Maran who relies on her letter to prove his honesty. Meenalochiny is now not GM (OP), but she is still in Chennai Telephones only. All attempts to reach her, as advised by Maran, by SMS and calls proved futile.
The CBI report says that there are 23 lines with ‘2437′ as the first four digits with the following numbers, namely, 2211 to 2213 (3 lines); 2222; 2233; 2244 to 2246 (3 lines); 2255 to 2257 (3 lines); 2266 to 2268 (3 lines); 2277 to 2279 (3 lines); 2288 to 2290 (3 lines); 2290; 2299; 2300; 2301; it also says that there are 300 lines with the same ‘2437′ as the first four digits followed by the next four digits starting with 1500 and ending with 1799, for the 300 lines. Obviously the CBI has not fabricated these numbers. They existed. But where are they now? Why did Maran forget the No 24371515, which is listed in Maran’s name as MP in his Boat Club home, which, in March 2007 alone, clocked over 48 lakh call units? Is it because not he, but, as the CBI says, SUN TV used it? Is Maran listening?
Now Maran is welcome to file his suit against TNIE. But, there is a lesson for those in Maran’s position. It is better to be silent than tell lies to confront truth.”