Chennai: Former Union cabinet minister Dayanidhi Maran and his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran of Sun TV network appeared before special court for CBI cases on Thursday in connection with over a decade old illegal telephone exchange scam case.
When the matter came up for hearing before XIV additional judge for CBI cases R. Vasanthi they appeared before the court along with five others accused in the case.
The judge has framed charges against the seven-accused based on the charge-sheet filed by the CBI in December 2016. The court framed charges based on verdict of Supreme Court on August 18 directing them to face trial in BSNL telephone exchange case.
According to CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, during the check period of June 2004 to December 2006 when he was Union minister for communication and information technology, misused his office and installed a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai and used it for business transactions involving Sun Network, owned by Kalanidhi.
CBI said Dayanidhi Maran allegedly caused a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer. More than 700 telecom lines had been installed in Maran's residences in Boat Club and Gopalapuram the agency alleged.
On March 14 this year, the special judge for CBI cases, Chennai S. Natarajan discharged all the seven accused - Dayandhi Maran, Kalanidhi Maran, former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman, Kannan and Ravi - Sun TV staff from the case as there was no prima facie in the charges.
While discharging them Natarajan said this court comes to conclusion that prosecution had not placed sufficient material to establish that the allegation that Dayanidhi Maran got more phone connections with mala fide intention to use them for Sun TV.
Allowing the appeal from CBI, Madras high court on July 25 set aside the discharge order noting that the court is fully satisfied that heaps and heaps of materials are available to frame charges against all the accused.
The HC said none of the reasons given by the trial court to discharge them is sustained in law. The trial court judge had totally forgotten the fact that he should only weigh the probability of the case for framing charges.
Following apex court direction on August 18, the special court commenced the proceeding and posted the matter to August 30 for framing the charges.
The charges include criminal conspiracy (sec 120-B of IPC), criminal breach of trust (sec 409 of IPC), cheating (sec 420 of IPC) and criminal misconduct by public servant (sec 13(2) of PC Act). After framing the charges against them today the court adjourned the matter to September 14 for further hearing....