Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran have been discharged by a CBI court in an alleged illegal telephone exchange scam case. Special judge Natarajan said he was discharging all seven accused from the case as there was no prima facie evidence to prove the charges against them.
In February this year, the CBI argued opposing the discharge petitions filed by Dayanidhi, Kalanithi Maran and others, saying there was prima facie material to proceed against them. Counsel for the Marans said they were innocent and had not caused any loss.
Also read | What is the ‘illegal’ telephone exchange case?
Dayanidhi Maran was accused of having installed a private telephone exchange with 764 telephone lines at his residence to facilitate illegal uplink of SUN TV data, causing a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to state-run telecom majors BSNL, Chennai and MTNL, Delhi.
The CBI had alleged that an illegal private telephone exchange was set up at the city residence of Dayanidhi during 2004-06 when he was the telecom minister and it was used for the business transactions involving the Sun Network owned by his brother Kalanithi.
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.
During the hearing of the discharge petitions, the Maran brothers and others argued that they were innocent and did not commit any irregularities as alleged by the prosecution.
Senior counsel Kabil Sibal, who had appeared for the Maran brothers, had contended that the case was foisted on them.
Meanwhile, the CBI said it will appeal in Madras High Court against the decision. Officials said the probe agency is shocked at the decision as it believed that it had very strong case on the basis of evidence gathered. The agency said it will seek legal opinion to file an appeal against the decision.
(With PTI inputs)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines