SC asks Maran to face trial in telephone exchange case

SC asks Maran to face trial in telephone exchange case

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran's plea and asked him to face trial in the case connected to the alleged setting up of "illegal" telephone exchanges to benefit his brother Kalanithi Maran's Sun TV Network. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Monday told former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and others to face trial in the case of running an illegal telephone exchange for the benefit of Sun network.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha declined to entertain the plea by Maran and others against the Madras High Court's order of July 25. The high court had allowed the CBI's appeal against an order by the special court in March to discharge all the accused.

“Go and face the trial,” the bench told senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, representing Maran.

“There are serious charges. These are matters to be decided in trial,” the bench said, even as Singhvi claimed the high court did not grant opportunity of hearing to the petitioner-accused.

The court further said that Maran as a minister used those telephone lines for helping Sun network, run by his brother. It also dismissed a petition by co-accused K S Ravi, a technician, represented by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh and Maran's private secretary Vedagiri Gauthaman.

In its order, the bench said, “We refrain from making any remark, as it may affect the trial. However, it is open for the accused to raise all contentions during the trial. The trial court would not be affected by any observations made by the high court.”

According to the CBI, Maran misused his position as Union minister during 2004-2007 by installing a private telephone exchange consisting of 764 high-speed lines to be used by Sun Network, owned by his brother Kalanidhi, thereby causing a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.