Pushed to the wall after Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named him in the 2G spectrum allocation case, high-profile Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran on Thursday resigned from the Union Cabinet, becoming the second Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) casualty in the scam.
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44-year-old Maran met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a Cabinet meeting and tendered his resignation following a word from DMK chief M Karunanidhi, highly-placed sources said.
Maran's continuance in the Cabinet became untenable after CBI on Wednesday in its status report on the 2G scam case, charged him with "forcing" a Chennai-based telecom promoter C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel to a Malaysian firm in 2006 during his tenure as the telecom minister in UPA-I.
The Prime Minister is believed to have had a word with DMK Parliamentary Party chief T R Baalu this morning and conveyed to him that the DMK leadership should be apprised of the position that Maran cannot continue in the cabinet.
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Baalu, who is in Delhi, is understood to have conveyed this to Karunanidhi who later asked Maran to put in his papers.
It was business as usual for Maran in the morning as he attended the Cabinet meeting, during which he abstained himself for a brief while when the issue of licence for FM channels came up.
He kept himself away on account of conflict of interest because his brother Kalanithi Maran runs a media empire that includes FM channels in various languages.
Maran went back home from the Cabinet meeting and returned later to give his resignation to the Prime Minister on the DMK chief's direction.
Maran, son of late Union Minister Muralosi Maran, is Karunanidhi's grand nephew.
With this, Maran becomes the second DMK minister to step down for alleged involvement in 2G scam. Former Telecom Minister A Raja was forced to resign in November, 2010 when the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) indicted him in the scam.
Karunanidhi's daughter and DMK MP Kanimozhi and Raja are currently in Tihar jail for their alleged involvement in the scam.