Former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran will face trial in the illegal telephone exchange case, with the Supreme Court on Monday dismissing his plea against a Madras High Court order directing the trial court to frame charges against him and others.
Dismissing the petition, a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Naveen Sinha said: “The allegation is that you were using all this (telephone exchange) for your brother’s business.”
The High Court, while directing the framing of the charges, had set aside an earlier trial court order discharging Maran in the case. It had also ordered the completion of trial within 12 months.
Dismissing the plea against the High Court order by Maran and three other BSNL officials, Justice Gogoi said in the order: “We are not inclined to interfere with the High Court order. Since recording of our views may affect the trial, we refrain to do so.”
As one of the officials accused in the matter sought to address the court, the bench said: “Go with your minister. There are serious charges against you.”
The Madras High Court had on June 25 remitted back the illegal telephone exchange case against former Union Minister Maran and his elder brother and Sun TV group head Kalanithi Maran to a special CBI special court and ordered framing of charges against all the accused.
The High Court order had come on an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the special CBI court’s March 14 order discharging the Maran brothers and others from the illegal telephone exchange case.
The CBI had alleged a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the government due to the alleged installation of an illegal telephone exchange at Dayanidhi Maran’s house, which was used for Sun TV operations.
The others discharged by the special CBI court were BSNL’s former Chief General Manager K. Brahmanathan and former Deputy General Manager M. Velusamy, former Minister’s Personal Secretary V. Gowthaman and Sun TV network employees S.Kannan and K.S. Ravi.