Dayanidhi Maran, the Union Textiles Minister now under fire for allegedly favouring Malaysian telecom company Maxis with licences and spectrum and for running an illegal, free telephone exchange in Chennai for personal or family benefit, has declared assets worth a meagre Rs 2 crore apart from significant shareholdings.
The disclosures follow a reminder from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) asking Cabinet ministers to declare their assets and business interests in the interests of transparency. Apart from Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, AK Antony, Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, SM Krishna and Salman Khursheed, Maran is the other minister to disclose his assets so far, says a report in The Indian Express.
The shareholdings declared by Maran are interesting. Maran and wife hold shares in companies owned by both the Ambani brothers, among them Reliance Industries, Reliance Natural Resources Ltd and Reliance Communications (RCom), according to details given in the newspaper.
If Dayanidhi Maran is now under pressure to quit for his alleged sins when he was Communications and IT Minister from 2004-07, they largely relate to his actions in the telecom licensing and spectrum space.
It is not known whether he owned shares in RCom when he was minister, but if it's true, that sends it own message of potential conflicts of interest.
Meanwhile, Maran's misstatements and obfuscations are beginning to catch up with him. In a fresh disclosure on the free telephone exchange he gave himself when he was Communications Minister, the New Indian Express nailed him for claiming he had only one line.
Thursday's story in the NIE quotes internal notes from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) as disclosing as many as 323 lines, which were allegedly used by Maran and his brother's Sun TV group illegally.
Maran's days as Textiles Minister are numbered.
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 03:52:09 IST