NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked former union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran to face trial in connection with the alleged setting up of 'illegal' telephone exchanges to benefit his brother Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network. The apex court dismissed Maran's plea in which he 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 and 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 'illegal' telephone exchange case pertains to the time when Dayanidhi was minister for communications and information technology in the UPA 1 government.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had alleged that he misused his official position and got an illegal private telephone exchange installed at his residences in Chennai during 2004-06 when he was the telecom minister. The agency alleged that the telephone exchange was used for the business transactions involving the Sun Network owned by Kalanithi.
According to the CBI, over 700 high-end telecommunication lines were installed at the Maran's residences in Boat Club and Gopalapuram areas of the city for which bills were not raised, causing the exchequer a loss of Rs 1.78 crore. The CBI had maintained that all charges framed against them were supported by material and documentary evidence.
Other accused who were discharged 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.
Nearly four years after receiving complaints regarding the scam, the probe commenced in 2011 and an FIR was filed in October 2013. After a detailed probe, the CBI filed the charge sheet on December 9, 2016.