Maran brothers acquitted in illegal telephone exchange case

The Maran brothers, former union communication and information technology minister Dayanidhi Maran and elder brother Kalanithi Maran, owner of Sun Network, and five others accused in the illegal telephone exchange case, were acquitted on Wednesday by a CBI court in Chennai after the court said that the prosecutors had failed to prove their case.

It was alleged that illegal telephone exchange at the instance of former IT minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother and owner of Sun TV Kalanithi Maran and others - had caused a Rs1.78 crore loss to the exchequer.

The court had said all the seven accused were discharges as there "was no prima facie evidence to prove the charges against them."

According to the CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, misused his office to instal a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai and used the facility for business transactions involving the Sun Network. This was done when he was in the union cabinet between June 2004 and December 2006.

It was alleged that the Marans had installed more than 700 telecom lines at their residences in Boat Club and Gopalapuram near Chennai. The other accused include former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary V Gauthaman and Sun TV officials.

According to the CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, during the period of June 2004 to December 2006, when he was the union minister for communication and information technology, misused his office and installed a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai. He used the facility for business transactions involving the Sun Network, owned by Kalanithi.

Among the accused were former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman, and Sun TV officials.

The counsel for the Maran brothers and others had argued that they were innocent and did not commit any irregularities, while the prosecution said there was prima facie material to proceed against them and wanted the court to dismiss the discharge petitions.