Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Friday accused textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran of having played a vital role in starting the 2G spectrum scam.
“Mr Maran started a big correspondence for getting the terms of references changed and separating the pricing of the spectrum. He was the one who took away the power from the group of ministers to look into the various aspects of allocation of spectrum and of pricing,” Joshi said.
Explaining the process of how the scam started, Joshi said: “Several documents were changed and it was accepted. All the powers that must have vested with the group of ministers were transferred to the telecom department. So, that is how the whole thing started.”
Stating that the cabinet in 2003 said that spectrum pricing would be determined in conjunction with the finance ministry, Joshi asked: “Why did Maran change it?”
“In my opinion, if at that very moment something should have been seriously thought about, then perhaps this serious issue could have been solved… I can’t say if it would have happened or not, but at least prime minister ( Manmohan Singh) and others would have understood why is it being done.”
Maran’s role came under the scanner after a news magazine questioned the circumstances in which he granted a license to Airtel in 2007 as the then communications minister.
The allegation against Maran is that Aircel, previously denied a telecom licence for over two years, was allotted one when its owners changed hands to Malaysia-based Maxis. The report says that Maran cleared the decks only after Maxis’ sister company invested Rs.675 crore in the Maran-owned Sun TV, which the Bharatiya Jantaq Party (BJP) calls a conflict of interest.