Supreme Court dismisses Maran’s plea against Madras HC order

BSNL illegal telephone exchange case will be tried at length

New Delhi.

The apex court dismissed an appeal filed by Maran against a Madras High Court order setting aside his discharge in the BSNL illegal telephone exchange case.

The case is related with the setting up of an allegedly illegal private telephone exchange at the residence of Maran during 2004-06 when he was the telecom minister, causing an alleged loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.

In a setback to the former Union minister and his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran, the Madras high court last Wednesday rejected the preliminary objection raised by them against the appeal moved by the CBI challenging a special court’s order discharging them from the decade-old illegal telephone exchange case.

Justice G Jayachandran remitted back the case to the special court for CBI cases and directed the court to continue the trial and complete framing of charges within 12 weeks. As a result, all the seven accused, including Maran brothers, will be facing the trail before the special court for CBI cases here. Justice Jaichandran directed a special CBI court to frame charges and conclude the trial within 12 months from the date of receipt of copy of the order.

Three months after a special court for CBI cases discharged former Union minister Maran and his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran from the decade-old illegal telephone exchange case, the CBI had approached the Madras HC challenging it.

Admitting the criminal revision petition, the HC’s Justice Jayachandran ordered notice be issued to Maran brothers and seven others accused in the case returnable by June 20. On March 14, special judge Natarajan said he was discharging all the seven accused from the case since there was no prima facie evidence to prove the charges against them.

According to the CBI, Maran, during the period of June 2004 to December 2006, when he was Union minister for communication and information technology, had misused his office and installed a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai and utilised the facility for business transactions involving Sun Network.

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