Telephone exchange scam: SC directs Dayanidhi to face trial

By PTI Published on Jul 30, 2018 04:48 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran's plea and asked him to face trial in the case connected to the alleged setting up of "illegal" telephone exchanges to benefit his brother Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network.

Dayanidhi had challenged 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 case relates to when Dayanidhi, grandnephew of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was minister for communications and information technology in the 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 were used for Sun Network's business transactions.

According to the CBI, over 700 high-end telecommunication lines were installed at Dayanidhi's residences in the Boat Club and Gopalapuram areas 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 their 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.