Chennai: Facing the heat by CBI in the "illegal" telephone exchange case, former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran on Thursday accused the investigating agency of acting under political compulsion to frame him and dared it to detain him if it had evidence.
Questioning the arrest of the three persons, including his former additional personal secretary, yesterday, Maran alleged it was an act to "please" RSS ideologue and columnist S Gurumurthy, who had 'exposed' the illegal telephone exchange.
"CBI should be a fact-finding mission and not a fixing one. .... I am being singled out. CBI is fixing me to please an RSS ideologue from Tamil Nadu...CBI action may be politically motivated," he told reporters after calling on DMK supremo and his granduncle M Karunanidhi and briefing him about the developments.
Maran also referred to the visit of top BJP leaders to the city to attend a family marriage of Gurumurthy on Sunday and alleged the arrests were a "wedding gift" for the columnist.
"This happened because a lot of politicians came and attended a wedding in Gurumurthy's family last week. Is it a wedding gift for Gurumurthy? Gurumurthy wants to show that he is controlling Tamil Nadu affairs.. Why should CBI try to please Gurumurthy? CBI should do its job unbiased".
The 300-odd telephone line exchange was allegedly set up at Maran's house and used by the Sun TV network owned by the former minister's family for data transmission of its channel.
Unfazed by Maran's attack, Gurumurthy stuck to his stand that the illegal telephone exchange was used for uplinking SUN TV.
"It is an open and shut case. He cannot escape from law. Undergound cables were surrepetitiously laid to connect the illegal telephone exchange with Sun TV and these lines were used for data transmission and uplinking. I will watch if CBI is doing its duty," Gurumurthy told PTI.
Maran also charged the CBI with torturing the arrested persons using third degree methods and coercing them to make statement indicting him in the case.
"For the last 18 months, they have been interrogated, no arrest was made. Why is it happening after last week's episode? Why is it they have been arrested now? They have been tortured, they have been hit. If the charge is true, arrest me. I am ready to be arrested. Why are you hitting them? Why not arrest me if you have evidence against me?, Maran dared CBI.
Asserting that he would fight out the case, Maran said there was only one telephone connection and it was still functioning at his residence.
DMK Treasurer and Karunanidhi's son M K Stalin, who spoke to the media in Maran's presence, endorsed his stand and alleged CBI acted under political compulsions.
To a question whether he thought the CBI action would affect DMK politically, he said, "Even if it affected in any way, he (Maran) is ready to face it legally.."
CBI last night arrested Chief Technical Officer S Kannan and electrician L S Ravi of Sun TV network, besides Maran's secretary V Gowthaman.
The agency had named Maran and BSNL officials, including the then Chief General Manager K Bramhanathan and MP Veluswami in the FIR filed in October 2013.