J Gopikrishnan | New Delhi
Maran booted out, Baalu in
Jolted by the CBI disclosure in the Supreme Court about a prima facie case against Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis-Sun TV deal, DMK chief M Karunanidhi has decided to drop him from the Union Cabinet and replace him with TR Baalu. Karunanidhi was left with few options as the CBI is all set to interrogate Maran and file a regular case against him.
In a letter dispatched to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the DMK patriarch has also asked her to drop Minister of State for Finance Palani Manickam, who is reportedly not in the good books of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his alleged interventions on several revenue-related matters probed by Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax against influential people. Mukherjee is learned to have directly complained against him to Karunanidhi, said sources.
The DMK chief has suggested that party spokesperson TKS Elangovan and dalit MP AKS Vijayan be accommodated as Ministers of State in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. Karunanidhi wants Elangovan to be given independent charge, but has not asked for any specific portfolio for any of the DMK leaders.
Karunanidhi wants other DMK Ministers of State including Jagat Rekhskan, Gandhi Selvan and Nappolean along with Cabinet Minister MK Alagiri to continue in the UPA Cabinet.
Sources said that Karunanidhi’s letter would be handed over to Sonia Gandhi through TR Baalu on Thursday. Baalu reached Delhi with the list late on Wednesday evening.
Top leaders of DMK told The Pioneer that Karunanidhi decided to drop Maran soon after the CBI submitted a status report in SC about Maran’s role in arm-twisting Sivasankaran to sell Aircel to Maxis.
After the 2G spectrum controversy, Nira Radia tapes expose and Maran issues, Baalu has emerged as Karunanidhi’s eyes and ears in Delhi. At the same time, after the electoral washout in Tamil Nadu, Alagiri has withdrawn his decision to go back to State politics. Placing Alagiri in Delhi would also help Karunanidhi to maintain peace with MK Stalin and avoid fighting between the two brothers.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa demanded that Maran be dropped from the Union Cabinet immediately.
“There is no use in expecting Dayanidhi Maran to take moral responsibility and resign. It is high time that the Prime Minister dropped him from the Union Council of Ministers,” she told the media after a meeting Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
She was responding when asked whether she expected Maran to own moral responsibility and resign after the CBI named him in its status report in the 2G spectrum scam.
“It was high time that the CBI took the step it did today. It was long overdue. I am happy that they have done it now,” she said, in response to queries on Maran being named in the CBI report.