SC rejects Kalanithi Maran's plea

SC rejects Kalanithi Maran's plea

Kalanithi Maran

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by industrialist Kalanithi Maran challenging a Madras High Court verdict setting aside a trial court order discharging him in a case relating to the alleged setting up of "illegal" telephone exchanges.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph rejected Maran's plea, following which he, along with his brother and former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others, would have to face trial in the case.

On July 30, the apex court had rejected a plea filed by Dayanidhi challenging the high court's July 25 order and asked him to face trial in the case.

The case relates to the period when Dayanidhi Maran was the Minister for Communications and Information Technology during the tenure of UPA-1 government.

The CBI has alleged that he had misused his official position and got private telephone exchanges installed at his residences in Chennai. These telephone lines were used for Sun Network's business transactions, the agency alleged.

According to the CBI, over 700 high-end telecommunication lines were installed at Maran's residences in the Boat Club and Gopalapuram areas of the city for which bills were not raised, causing a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.

Maran brothers and other accused in the case have denied the CBI's allegations.

The special CBI court had on March 14 discharged the Maran brothers and five other accused, holding there was no prima facie case against them.

The other accused are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman and some Sun TV officials.

Allowing the CBI's appeal against the trial court's discharge, the Madras High Court had on July 25 directed the special court to frame charges and conclude the trial within a year from the date of receipt of the high court order.

Kalanithi Maran, a billionaire businessman, is the chairman and founder of the Sun Group, which owns several media houses.

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