SC slams CBI for seeking arrest of Maran

The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the CBI for trying to arrest former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran in the Rs 1.20 crore illegal telephone exchange while the probe agency failed to arrest the accused in the Rs 8,000 crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in Uttar Pradesh.

A three-judge bench presided by Justice T S Thakur also wondered if it was due to “political vendetta” that the investigating agency showed its keenness to arrest Maran after registering the case in 2013.

However, the court issued notice to the CBI, seeking its response in two weeks on Maran’s plea challenging August 10 order of the Madras HC, cancelling his anticipatory bail and asking him to surrender within three days to face the charges. The court stayed the HC’s order and fixed the matter for further hearing on September 14.

On Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi’s opposition to Maran’s plea for bail, the bench observed, “The CBI has not been arresting people because it does not feel so. Political vendetta and other things should not come in. There may be people who want to fix him (Maran). There are all sorts of things going on in politics.”

The bench, also comprising Justices V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi, pointed out, “In the NRHM scam of Rs 8,000 crore, such a huge amount gone into drain, out of 200 accused, you have not arrested (many) people,” the bench asked the CBI represented by Rohatgi.

The NRHM scam involved various officials and government of previous regime of Bahujan Samaj Party in which they were accused of siphoning off money meant for rural health programmes.

Rohatgi, on his part, contended that the CBI was required to arrest Maran to unearth the whole conspiracy relating to the case wherein the minister during his tenure 2004-07 illegally ran a telephone exchange from his Chennai residence to help his brother in running Sun TV.

“It is a case of telephone misuse. What for you want to arrest him? The minister did not himself lay the lines. To find out how the facility was run, why have you not arrested the officer? These are aberrations which we cannot approve of. Unless there is some other purpose, why you want to arrest him,” the bench asked Rohatgi.

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