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CBI court discharges Maran brothers in illegal telephone exchange scam

CBI court discharges Maran brothers in illegal telephone exchange scam

Chennai, Mar 14 In a relief to DMK leader and former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, a special CBI court here today discharged him, his brother Kalanithi and five other accused in the "illegal" telephone exchange case.

According to Special judge Natarajan, he claimed that he has discharged all the 7 accused in in the case as there was no prima facie evidence in order to prove them guilty.

While seeking their discharge, the Maran brothers told the court that CBI had failed to understand the latest technology and hence pursued the case. The CBI had maintained that all charges framed against them were supported by material and documentary evidence.

In the illegal telephone exchange case, along with Maran brothers, former Minister's then personal secretary V Gowthaman; former chief general managers of BSNL, Chennai circle K Brahmanathan; former deputy general manager of BSNL M Velusamy; Sun TV network's vice-president (technical) S Kannan; and technician K S Ravi, the co accused are also discharged of the charges.

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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.

The verdict comes as a shot in the arm for Marans, who have already been discharged in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The CBI, which alleged a loss of '1.78 crore to the exchequer, had invoked provisions under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. CBI had alleged that the private telephone exchange installed at Dayanidhi's residences comprised over 700 telephone lines but no bills were raised.

Meanwhile, Maran brothers in their discharge petitions filed in the court, argued that they were innocent and did not commit any irregularities. The DMK suffered a rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK got a second straight term in 2016.


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