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Dayanidhi Maran to face trial in illegal telephone exchange case, says Top court

The top court dismissed Maran's plea challenging the Madras High Court's July 25 decision setting aside a CBI court order discharging him in the case.

PTI Last Updated at 30 Jul 2018, 20:07 IST India

Former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran will have to face trial in the case related to the alleged setting up of "illegal" telephone exchanges for benefitting his brother Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network, the Supreme Court said today.

The top court dismissed Maran's plea challenging the Madras High Court's July 25 decision setting aside a CBI court order discharging him in the case.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi, and Navin Sinha said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter and all the allegations could be dealt with during the trial.

"The allegations against you is that you used telephone lines to set up an exchange to benefit your brother. All these allegations can be dealt at the time of trial, You can face trial," the bench said.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Maran, said the high court had not considered all aspects and has wrongly set aside the trial court order discharging them.

The bench said the allegations are that you used these phones for a purpose which can be easily contested in the trial.

"We are not inclined to interfere. However, as recording our reasons for the above conclusion may affect the trial, we refrain from doing so. It will, naturally, be open for each of the accused to urge all contentions before the trial Court and the trial will be held without being influenced by any of the observations/findings recorded in the impugned orders. The Special Leave Petitions are disposed of in the above terms," the bench said.

The bench also refused to entertain the plea of three other accused in the case.

The case relates to the period when Dayanidhi, a grandnephew of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was the minister for communications and information technology during the tenure of UPA-1 government.

The CBI has alleged that he 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, it was 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 March 14 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.

Allowing the CBI's appeal against the trial court's discharge, the Madras High Court had directed the special court to frame charges and conclude the trial within a year from the date of receipt of the copy of the high court order.

Kalanithi Maran, a billionaire businessman, is the chairman and founder of the Sun Group, which owns several media houses.

The Maran brothers were also booked by the CBI and ED in the Aircel-Maxis deal case in which they were discharged by a special court in Delhi against which an appeal is pending before the Delhi High Court.

On February 2 last year, a special court had discharged Dayanidhi Maran and his industrialist brother Kalanithi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis deal cases of CBI and ED, saying the charges were based on "misreading of official files", speculation and surmises of the complainant.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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