No estimate of total losses from 350 BSNL lines at Maran home

After nearly three years of probe, CBI has not been able to calculate the total loss incurred to the exchequer by over 350 high speed broadband lines allegedly set up by BSNL officials at the residence of former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran to allegedly benefit Sun TV network owned by his brother Kalanithi.

New Delhi: After nearly three years of probe, CBI has not been able to calculate the total loss incurred to the exchequer by over 350 high speed broadband lines allegedly set up by BSNL officials at the residence of former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran to allegedly benefit Sun TV network owned by his brother Kalanithi.

Nearly Rs 1.2 crore was the installation fee which was the alleged loss to the exchequer because it was never paid, a senior official said adding that there was no estimate of recurring and call charges for the three years period 2004-07 during which the alleged exchanged operated, sources said.

They said CBI is likely to carry out searches at various locations in connection with alleged telephone exchange of high-speed data line set up at the residence of Dayanidhi Maran.

The sources said the agency will carry out searches to collect evidence based on the interrogation of Sun TV Chief Technical Officer and Additional Private Secretary of Maran who were arrested last evening by CBI.

Although the agency has carried out a brief questioning of the three, it will do a detailed custodial interrogation of those arrested to collect evidence and corroborate their claims, they said.

V Gowthaman, former Additional Private Secretary of Maran, Chief Technical Officer of Sun TV S Kannan and electrcian L S Ravi also of the television network are alleged to have been directly involved in the setting up of the exchange to benefit the channel owned by Kalanithi, CBI sources said.

Dayananidhi Maran hit at CBI saying the agency "should be a fact-finding machine and not a fixing one.... I am being singled out. CBI is fixing me to please an RSS ideologue from Tamil Nadu." He, however, did not name anyone.

Maran, who is facing CBI heat, alleged the investigating agency was compelling the three arrested persons to complain against him and that they were even tortured to give "false statement".

CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said the agency had registered the case on July 23, 2013 after two-year preliminary enquiry which was registered in 2011.

The agency has charged Maran and two Chief General Managers of BSNL with criminal conspiracy and cheating besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

"It was alleged that the then Union Minister of Communication and Information Technology (MOCIT) during the period from June, 2004 to June, 2007 and other officials of BSNL, Chennai entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused huge financial loss to the government Exchequer," Prasad said.

She said the employees of BSNL were given service connection as per their entitlement and for which they were not required to make any payments and these facilities were "mis-utilised" in the said case.

She said it is alleged both BSNL officials, along with other unknown public servants, facilitated and provided a number of high-end telecommunication facilities i.e ISDN, BRA, PRA, broad band connections and leased line circuits etc at the residence of the then Telecom Minister in violation of rules and regulations.

"These telecommunication facilities were treated under service category and no bills were allegedly raised for the same during the period from 2004 to 2007," she said adding that these connections were allegedly used by then Minister for a TV company owned by his elder brother.

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