Chennai : A Special CBI court in Chennai on Wednesday discharged former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his elder brother and media baron Kalanithi Maran, two former senior officers of BSNL, Chennai, and three others in the illegal telephone exchange case.
Passing orders on petitions filed by the accused seeking to be discharged, the XIV Additional Sessions Judge (Special Court for CBI Cases) S Natarajan said he did not find sufficient material to frame charges against the Maran brothers and others in the case.
The order came as a huge relief to Dayanidhi Maran and the DMK, which faced the dual taint of the 2G scam and the illegal telephone exchange case. Two months ago, all accused in the 2G scam including another former Telecom Minister A Raja, who too belonged to the DMK, were acquitted by a CBI court in Delhi.
The CBI had registered case against seven persons in July 2013 alleging that from 2004 to 2007 when Dayanidhi Maran was Union Minister, 764 new telephone lines were illegally provided by BSNL at his Gopalapuram residence and new bungalow on Boat Club Road. A mini-exchange was set up for the purpose, but no bill was raised. Besides 10 post-paid mobile connections with vanity numbers were given to Sun TV founded by his elder brother Kalanithi Maran as per the oral orders of the then Minister.
Meanwhile, the CBI said it will seek legal opinion to file an appeal against the decision.
The probe agency is shocked at the decision as it believed that it had very strong case on the basis of evidence gathered.