DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran today got a breather from the Supreme Court which stayed the Madras High Court order cancelling his bail in the telephone exchange scam case and restrained CBI from quizzing him in custody, saying “political vendetta should not come in the picture.”
The apex court was critical of the probe agency making the matter, in which Maran is accused of causing a loss of Rs 1.20 crore to the exchequer as a telecom minister during 2004-07, a “prestige issue” and seeking custodial interrogation of the former union minister.
A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur which sought CBI’s response on Maran’s plea questioned its intention to arrest him in a case registered in 2013 in which high ranking officers of telecom department has been arrested.
“What were you doing for the last two years. Why you have not arrested BSNL officials… Political vendetta should not come in the picture. Less said, the better,” the bench, also comprising Justices V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi said.
“You should have caught hold of officers and asked how the minister did it,” the bench said, adding, “unless there is some other purpose for arresting why CBI should want to arrest him. Political vendetta should not come here.”
“All types of things are happening in the realms of politics. This is not something which is shocking the conscience,” the bench said and referred to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam of Rs 8,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh in which not a single arrest has been made.
“This is not something where you need to arrest a person. In UP, Rs 8,000 crore went down the drain. Not a single person out of around 200 invvolved has been arrested. Why do you want him in custody?”
“When it comes to Rs 8,000 crore scam. You will not arrest. When it comes to telephone bill you want to arrest,” the bench said before putting the matter for September 14 when the CBI will respond to Maran’s petition seeking protection from arrest.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for CBI, said the custodial interrogation of Maran, who was telecom minister during the UPA-1 regime, was necessary to “uearth the entire conspiracy” in which the the Chief General Manager of telecom department in Chennai was also allegedly involved.