Former Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran were on Wednesday acquitted in the ‘illegal’ telephone exchange case by a special court. The Maran brothers, who were among seven acquitted in the case, walked free as the court did not find any evidence to prove charges against them. As per the Central Bureau of Investigation’s charge, the ‘scam’ had caused losses to the tune of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the case:
1. The case goes back to the time when Dayanidhi Maran was Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology between 2004 and 2007 during UPA I regime when Manmohan Singh was the prime minister.
2. The CBI alleged that the then minister had misused his office and had installed a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai. and used this telephone exchange for business transactions involving the Sun Network.
3. Over 700 high-end telecom lines, having BRA/PRA/leased line/ISDN were installed at residences of Marans in Boat Club and Gopalpuram localities of Chennai.
4. These were installed under the service category. Even bills were apparently not raised. The probe agency alleged the ‘scam’ led the exchequer a loss of Rs 1.78 crore.
5. Cases were also filed against Maran’s private secretary Gauthaman and former BSNL staff including company’s general manager K Brahmnathan and former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, apart from Marans.
6. Last month, the probe agency had opposed the discharge pleas filed by Maran brothers and others, pointing put that there was prima facie material to proceed against the accused. The move was opposed by Marans counsel saying they were innocent and did does not cause any loss.
7. The CBI had also alleged that dedicated telephone lines that connected Marans’ residence and Sun TV were aimed at transfer of high-speed data.
8. Appearing for Maran brothers, senior counsel Kapil Sibal had contended that the case was foisted on them.
9. Special judge S Natarajan allowed pleas filed by the Maran brothers and others requesting for their discharge from the case, pointing out that that there was no prima facie case against them. He had on March 9 reserved his orders for today.
10. Today’s judgement is another big boost for DMK, months after party’s Rajya Sabha MPKanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A Raja were acquitted in the 2G spectrum case.