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Charges to be framed against Marans in phone exchange case
Tamil Nadu

Charges to be framed against Marans in phone exchange case

S.Murari

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday said it would hear and frame charges against the Maran brothers in connection with the 'illegal' telephone exchange case on Jan 30.

The accused are former Union Telecommunication Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his former additional private secretary V Gowthaman, and Sun Network owner and brother Kalanidhi Maran. The other accused are former BSNL General Manager K Brahmanathan, former Deputy General Manager M P Velusamy, and two Sun TV officials.

The case concerns alleged misuse of 764 high-speed data lines of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) at Dayanidhi Maran's posh Boat Club and Gopalapuram residences during his tenure as the Union TelecomMinisterfrom 2004 to 2007. The charge is that he allowed the high-speed telephone lines to be used for the business transactions of Sun Network, thereby causing to the Government a loss of Rs 178 crore.

The case has had a chequered history. This is the second time that charges are being framed against Marans. Earlier in August 2018, Special Judge for CBI court R Vasanthi framed the charges after the Madras High Court overruled another special judge R Natarajan's order discharging the Marans from the case.

The High Court found "heaps of evidence" against them and asked the CBI court to frame charges and conclude the trial within a year. The Marans challenged the charges thus framed against them in November 2018 and the High Court rejected their petitions.

When the case came up before the Special CBI Court again on Monday, the judge posted it for Jan 30 for framing of charges and directed the Marans and other accused to appear that day.