The Supreme Court on Thursday granted two weeks to CBI to respond to some additional documents filed by former Telecom Minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran in the alleged telephone exchange case.
Mr. Maran, who has been granted protection against arrest by the apex court after the Madras High Court cancelled his bail, had filed documents he received under RTI from Department of Telecom and other authorities, to buttress his claims that he was entitled to “service connections” as Telecom Minister.
A bench, comprising Justices T.S. Thakur and V. Gopala Gowda, briefly heard the arguments and adjourned the hearing when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi sought time to go through the additional documents filed by Mr. Maran and file a response on behalf of the CBI.
Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for Mr. Maran, referred to the chronology of events in the case and said the CBI’s “sudden need for arrest is mystifying and motivated.”
The case, pertaining to period 2004-07, was registered in July 2013 and Mr. Maran was quizzed several times in this regard, that too for hours, he said, adding that the documents sought by CBI have been handed over by him.
He also referred to the responses received under the RTI and named various former Telecom Ministers to drive home the point that Mr. Maran was entitled to those service connections.
In response, the Attorney General said “these were fraudulent connections which were not meant for voice telephony. These were special connections for transmission of data. He was not entitled to these lines. He used these lines for Sun TV, run by the family.”
Earlier, the apex court had extended stay on a Madras High Court order cancelling the bail and asking Mr. Maran to surrender in the case. The High Court had on August 10 cancelled Mr. Maran’s interim anticipatory bail and directed him to surrender before CBI in three days, holding that “prima facie” Mr. Maran had “misused” his office by obtaining phone connections illegally and the charges against him were backed by material.
CBI has registered an FIR against Mr. Maran and others alleging that over 300 high-speed telephone lines were provided at his residence here and extended to his brother Kalanithi Maran’s Sun TV channel to enable its uplinking when Dayanidhi Maran was Telecom Minister from 2004-07.
( Source – PTI )