However sourses said that Singh has indicated his intention to Maran.
Maran sought to downplay his meeting with the PM saying that it had nothing to do with the reshuffle and claimed that he met him for his ministry’s work. Singh wants to complete the Cabinet reshuffle exercise before CBI takes Maran into custody for interrogation, the sources said.
Prime Minister Singh is all set to reshuffle his cabinet any day next week, the sources said. Maran’s exit from the union cabinet and his possible arrest in the 2G scam would exacerbate tensions between the Congress and the DMK. Two senior DMK leaders – former telecom minister A Raja and party chief M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi – are already in Tihar Jail in the 2G cases.
The charge against Maran is that during his tenure as Telecom Minister from 2004 to 2007, he forced the former owner of Aircel to sell his company to a Malaysia-based firm, known for its proximity to Maran’s family.
The then owner of Aircel, C Sivasankaran has told the CBI in a video-recorded statement that when Maran was Telecom Minister, he refused to grant licenses necessary for Aircel to operate mobile networks. Sivasankaran eventually sold his telecom company to A Anandakrishnan after denial of licenses for years. Shortly after Aircel was sold, the new owner was granted 14 licenses.
A few months thereafter, Anandakrishnan invested Rs. 800 crore in Sun TV, owned by Maran’s brother. The allegation is that the investment in Sun was a kickback for the telecom licenses granted to Aircel. Maran has, however, denied the charges against him.