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Stop move to destroy BSNL, Maran tells PM

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Calls for inquiry into "a sinister campaign" by 'vested interests'.
Dayanidhi Maran, who was forced by DMK to quit the communications ministry, today struck back by asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to inquire into attempts by an NRI businessman and other vested interests to stall the tendering process of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.
The letter sent by the Lok Sabha MP to the PM earlier today, seeks to find out the truth regarding "the false propaganda being carried out to tarnish my name, plant doubts in the minds of the public regarding my integrity and the ulterior motive to destroy BSNL".
Maran's letter, his first public comment after his ouster from the ministry, is sure to create complications for his successor A Raja, who has been pushing for a review of BSNL's mammoth 45 million GSM connections order on the grounds that the company is overpaying by as much as Rs 10,000 crore.
The two-page letter, without naming either Raja or the NRI businessman, goes on to say that "a sinister campaign is being carried out systematically against me through the media by certain vested interests.
As a minister, it was always my practice to stay out of the tendering process of not only BSNL but also MTNL. The tender, in question, was finalised only by the BSNL board".
Maran alleged that the NRI businessman, in trying to stall BSNL's growth, was facilitating the undue growth of private operators.
Although of Maran's letter broke in the evening, Raja had earlier during the day told reporters in Chennai that he would resign if the BSNL employee union's allegations that his actions were hurting the company were proved.
"Unions owing allegiance to the Left parties have misunderstood me on the issue. I want to know if my actions had affected BSNL. Did I cancel the tender? I only asked them to revise the financial bid, which will save a lot of money," he said.
It remains to be seen as to what view the prime minister takes on Maran's letter. The political consensus is that the letter is a vain effort and would only add to Maran's isolation within his party.
The DMK is a powerful constituent of the UPA government and has made it clear that it will run the communications ministry without any interference.

First Published: Sun, July 15 2007. 00:00 IST