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Is Dayanidhi Maran in deep trouble?

May 31, 2011 By: Gemini Category: Uncategorized

Once a trouble shooter for his grand-uncle DMK chief M Karunanidhi and a friend of the Gandhi family, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran is beginning to look he is in deep trouble like his former Cabinet and party colleague, A Raja.
Though he is tightly lipped, Maran’s sudden meetings with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently are leading to speculation about his staying as a minister. The buzz in Delhi’s corridors of power is whether another 2G scam is brewing and Maran is in the dock.
Stories are doing rounds that companies that backed jailed Raja are out to “fix” Maran so that he “pays” the price for troubling them during his tenure as Telecom Minister.
Last week, Maran moved the Madras High Court for a direction to the printer, publisher and editor and others of Economic Times of Bennet Coleman & Co Limited to pay Rs 1 crore towards damages for publishing articles that are allegedly defamatory.
He submitted that the daily carried news items in its Delhi edition of the issue dated May 21 last under the headlines “CBI May Name Dayanidhi, Maxis in Aircel Ownership Probe” and “FIR Likely Against Maran, Maxis in Aircel Case”, which were totally defamatory, false and derogatory. It had been written and published with the mala fide intention of defaming the plaintiff and causing disrepute to him, he said.
This week, Maran sent a legal notice to Tehelka magazine, calling its cover story on him a “blatant and concocted lie”. The notice said, “The reports published in the magazine are totally false, defamatory, derogatory and has been published with a malafide intention and ulterior motive.” Tehelka had claimed Maran in 2006 deliberately delayed clearing license to certain companies. and “the delay” pressurised Aircel to strike a deal with Maxis, which invested in the Maran family-owned Sun TV.
Reacting to Maran sending notices to the media houses, the BJP has hit out at him, seeking his explanation if there was conflict of interest. The Congress, however, did not comment on the issue. “If Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran has been asked a few questions, he’s in the best position to answer them. But I must mention here that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is doing its job. It will examine all issues including the telecom policy through the years,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said. But Union ministers P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal refused to comment on Maran.
Maran and his industrialist brother, Kalanidhi Maran, are known for their influence in the government and industry. Maran is also known to be very close to the young Gandhis too. In fact, he was credited with saving the alliance between the DMK and the Congress when they were about to part ways over contesting elections together in Tamil Nadu three months ago.
Maran’s first brush with Karunanidhi and his family was in 2007 and it cost his job as Telecom Minister. Raja took over his job. Karunanidhi’s family was upset with him and his industrialist-brother Kalanidhi because their newspaper, Dinakaran, published what the patriarch called was a “mischevious” survey in May 2007.
The survey said Karunanidhi’s younger son M K Stalin and Dayanidhi Maran were rated high (in that order) as among the readers’ choice for becoming the chief minister after the DMK patriarch. Alagiri, Karunaidhi’s elder son, finished a poor third. Livid Alagiri and Stalin, and their father thought that the Marans were triggering a fight between the brothers over the succession issue.
It was then the family of Karunanidhi decided they must have their own media group to outmatch Sun TV run by the Marans. In June 2007, after Maran was forced to quit as telecom minister, Raja went about his task of setting up Kalaignar TV from scratch, organizing official clearance for a quick launch. Kanimozhi backed him to the hilt and the first family including her step-mother Dayalu Ammal took shares. Karunanidhi inaugurated the channel named after him on September 15, 2007, the birthday of DMK founder C N Annadurai.
Now, DMK leaders say Maran has again upset Karunanidhi and his family following WikiLeaks disclosure about what he had told an American diplomat in Chennai a year after he lost his portfolio in the DMK’s internal war. In the cable dated Feb 23, 2008, the estranged DMK leader was quoted as saying that party “would lose about half of their [Lok Sabha] seats if things continue as they are,” hinting that there was a general impression that the DMK was especially corrupt.
“When people get into power they lose concentration and start focusing on making money,” he had said, in what seems to be a dig at Raja, The Hindu reported quoting the cables. Maran also rapped the DMK for its policy of gifting freebies to voters as he said, “The problem when you come to power by promising people free TVs is that people soon forget the TVs you gave them and then ask ‘what are you doing for me now?’” U.S. Consul General David T Hopper in the communique to Washington also wrote that Maran was “very downbeat” about the prospects of the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) in the 15th Lok Sabha election, observing that “the UPA is in tough shape, especially after Gujarat.”
But Maran’s praise for Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was also noted by the diplomat, as the DMK leader went as far as calling him the “only chance” the UPA had of returning to power in the 2009 elections. By December 1, 2008, Maran was, however, back in the DMK fold after saying sorry to his grand-uncle Karunanidhi. The Maran brothers also patched up with Karunanidhi’s two sons, M K Stalin and M K Alagiri.

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