Maran brothers walk free in telephone exchange case

Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran

Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran

Chennai: In a major relief to former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran and five others, a special CBI court in Chennai on Wednesday discharged them from the illegal telephone exchange scam.

According to The Times of India, the court said it was discharging all the seven accused from the case since there was "no prima facie evidence to prove the charges against them".

With his discharge in the illegal telephone exchange case, Dayanidhi Maran says he feels the taint on the DMK has been completely erased. He installed the "illegal" telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai during June 2004 to December 2006. Yesteryear, in February, the CBI had argued opposing the discharge petitions filed by Dayanidhi, Kalanithi Maran and others, saying there was no prima facie material to proceed against them. A few months ago, Kanimozhi ~ party's Rajya Sabha member and daughter of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi ~ and former Telecom Minister A Raja were acquitted by a court in the 2G spectrum case.

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It is also the case of the CBI that these dedicated telephone lines connecting Maran's residence and the Sun TV office were aimed at high-speed data transfer. Even the NIE article was a better charge sheet than the one CBI filed.

Other accused who have been discharged are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman, and Sun TV officials. More than 700 high-end telecom lines, having PRA/BRA/ISDN leased line, were installed under the service category.

The CBI opposed the discharge pleas contending that the agency has filed chargesheet against the Maran brothers and other accused only after thorough investigation, and that all the charges framed against them were supported with material and documentary evidence.

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