NEW DELHI: For the third consecutive day on Friday, former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran was interrogated for six hours over the ‘illegal telephone exchange’ scam, at the CBI headquarters in the National Capital. He was allowed to go after he gave an assurance to the CBI sleuths that he would provide ‘important documents’ to the investigators within a week.
“He arrived at the CBI headquarters at 11 am and was allowed to leave by 5 pm. We have asked him to submit a few documents and make himself available as and when required in the probe,” a senior CBI officer told ‘Express’. When asked whether the investigative agency was satisfied with the replies and evidences Dayanidhi provided, the officer responded ‘negatively’ saying: “Investigation is on, and at this stage we cannot say we are satisfied with Dayanidhi’s replies during interrogation.” In the last three days Dayanidhi has been interrogated for 20 hours, and CBI sleuths are still “unconvinced” with him.
The former Union minister avoided mediapersons standing outside the CBI headquarters and left the premises along with his lawyer in haste in another vehicle.
On the agency’s new claims that the total loss to the exchequer is Rs 1.80 crore, the CBI officer said: “We have got evidences pertaining to losses of Rs 1.80 crore so far and the figure may go up as the investigation proceeds.” Earlier, the CBI had claimed that the total loss incurred to the exchequer was Rs 440 crore.
The investigators said that Dayanidhi had also got “illegal high-speed ISDN phone lines” at his Gopalapuram residence and they were probing whether these were used to benefit the Sun TV network owned by his brother Kalanithi Maran.
It was ‘Express’ that first blew the lid off the Rs 440 crore telephone exchange scam, exposing the illegal high-speed ISDN phone lines that were routed from Dayanidhi’s residence to Kalanithi’s Sun TV to facilitate fast data transfer of news programmes, causing huge losses to government-owned BSNL. Noted investigative journalist and columnist S Gurumurthy first broke the scam in June 2011, exposing the secret exchange with 323 lines set up at Dayanidhi’s residence in 2006-07 in the name of the chief general manager of BSNL to benefit Sun TV.