BSNL case: Charges filed against Kalanithi, Dayanidhi Maran

Chennai: A CBI court here today filed charges against Maran brothers and five other accused, in connection with the illegal telephone exchange case.

When the case came up for hearing today, CBI Judge Vasanthi registered the charges and posted the case to 14 September.

When she questioned the seven, including former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his elder brother and media baron Kalanithi Maran, they refused the allegations against them.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by Kalanithi Maran challenging a Madras High Court verdict setting aside a trial court order discharging him in the case relating to the alleged setting up of illegal telephone exchanges.

The case relates to the period when Dayanidhi Maran was the Minister for Communications and Information Technology during the tenure of UPA-1 government.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph rejected Maran’s plea, following which he, along with his brother Dayanidhi Maran and others, would have to face trial in the case.

On 30 July, the apex court had rejected a plea filed by Dayanidhi challenging the high court’s 25 July order and asked him to face trial in the case.

The CBI has alleged that he had misused his official position and got private telephone exchanges installed at his residences in Chennai. These telephone lines were used for Sun Network’s business transactions, the agency alleged.

According to the CBI, over 700 high-end telecommunication lines were installed at Maran’s residences in the Boat Club and Gopalapuram areas of the city for which bills were not raised, causing a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.

The special CBI court had on 14 March discharged the Maran brothers and five other accused, holding there was no prima facie case against them.

The other accused are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran’s private secretary Gauthaman and some Sun TV officials.

NT Bureau