BJP says Maran action simple case of ‘bribery’



Lucknow: BJP on Thursday dismissed Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran's explanation on pay-offs to family- owned Sun TV Network and alleged that it was a simple case of "bribery and quid pro quo" as he gave licenses and allotted spectrum to Aircel in 2007 at 2001 rates.

"Dayanidhi Maran's alibi that investment by Maxis company of Malaysia in Sun Direct TV after he ceased to be the Telecom Minister is all humbug.

"The Economic Investment Committee of the Cabinet, which is empowered to deal with foreign investment, had given permission to invest in February 2007 itself when Maran was Minister," BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

He alleged that Maran gave licenses and more spectrum to Aircel at give-away prices.

"The bigger question here which Maran should address is at what rates were new licenses given. As far as we are informed, Aircel was given licenses for 14 new areas and also additional spectrum in 2007 at 2001 rates though now the teledensity was very high. This is a case of bribery and quid pro quo," Prasad said.

The opposition also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to break his silence on the issue and ensure a fair CBI investigation.

"The Prime Minister has not spoken for the last three days. He should not repeat his mistake. Earlier, he had sought to defend A Raja saying he was innocent. Now he is in jail. Please speak up.

"Ensure a fair CBI investigation into this case otherwise the country will have to draw the conclusion that Manmohan Singh only defends the corrupt," Prasad said.

Maran had yesterday said he had not favoured any particular company in granting UASL licence when he was Telecom Minister.

PTI