HC directs to frame charges against Maran brothers

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 25, 2018 01:33 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court today set aside a lower court order discharging all the accused, including the Maran brothers, in the alleged illegal telephone exchange case.

Allowing the appeal filed by the CBI, Justice G Jaichandran directed a special CBI court to frame charges and conclude the trial within 12 months from the date of receipt of copy of the order.

The special CBI court had in March discharged Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others accused in the case.

The trial court had allowed the petitions filed by the Maran brothers and others seeking their discharge, holding that there was no prima facie case against them.

The CBI had alleged that an illegal private telephone exchange was set up at the residence of Dayanidhi Maran here during 2004-06 when he was the Telecom Minister and it was used for the business transactions involving the Sun Network owned by Kalanithi.

The central agency had alleged that Dayanidhi Maran had caused a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.

Other accused who were discharged 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.

The case came back alive after the CBI, towards the end of last month, contended in the HC that the trial court was wrong in discharging the accused.

The trial court did not go through the documents in full, and although only four persons had filed petitions to be released, all seven accused were released, the CBI had said.

The body pressed for another trial on the matter, asking for cancellation of the trial court's order.

When the plea came up before Justice Jeyachandran, proscecutors from the acccused side asked for the petition filed by the CBI be dismissed at the beginning.

However, the Judge accepted the CBI petition and ordered that he is setting aside the trial court order and that all seven accused should be probed by the CBI. He also said the CBI Court look into the matter.

Earlier in March, the trial court had said the prosecutors failed to prove their case against the Marans and five other accused in the case.

Pronouncing orders on the discharge petitions, XIV additional sessions judge S Natarajan said since there was insufficient material to frame charges against any of the accused, he had discharged them all. Reacting to the judgment, Dayanidhi said justice had prevailed and he stood vindicated.