CBI books Marans in illegal phone exchange case

The specific allegation was that between June 2004 and December 2006, more than 700 telephone lines were installed at the residences of Dayanidhi Maran.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday charge-sheeted former Union Minister of Communication & Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran and others in a case relating to the alleged setting up of an illegal phone exchange at the former’s residence.

The agency had registered a case on July 23, 2013, based on information that a number of high-end telecommunication facilities were installed illegally under the ‘service category’ at the residence of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran in Chennai for which bills were not raised.

Responding to the move, Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, alleging that the case was foisted, said he would face it legally as he had full faith in the judiciary.

In a statement, he said that though initially the loss to the exchequer in the case was put at Rs. 484 crore, it was later revised to Rs. 100 crore, and now the charge-sheet had put the figure at just Rs. 1.78 crore.

Oral orders

The specific allegation was that between June 2004 and December 2006, about 364 telephone numbers/lines were installed at the Gopalapuram residence and another 353 telephone lines installed at the Boat Club Road residence of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran.

Ten post-paid mobile connections with vanity numbers were also given to a private television channel under the ‘service category’ on the oral orders of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, and no bills were raised.

There was huge data transfer, including audio and video, through these telephone connections, to benefit a TV channel owned by his brother Mr. Kalanithi Maran. Investigations revealed that 764 phone numbers were allegedly provided to the then Minister by BSNL, Chennai Telephones, and MTNL, New Delhi. No bills were raised for all these facilities causing a loss to the tune of Rs. 1,78,71,393. Others named in the charge sheet are V. Gowthaman, then Additional Private Secretary to the Minister, and K.B. Brahmadathan and M.P. Velusamy, both former Chief General Managers of BSNL. The investigating agency had invoked provisions under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in the case. The charge-sheet was laid before the Principal Sessions Judge for CBI cases here.

Source: The Hindu

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