CHENNAI : Charges in the decade-old multi-crore telephone exchange scam case have been improperly framed against former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran of Sun TV group and other accused, the Madras High Court has held.Justice A D Jagadish Chandira, who made the observation on Friday, reverted the matter back to the XIV Additional Judge for CBI cases for framing the charges, afresh.The judge was dismissing petitions from Maran brothers and other accused, challenging the charges framed by the trial court.
The judge directed the trial court to carefully look into all the material and frame proper and necessary charges in respect of each and every accused – A1 to A7 – in accordance with procedures, as contemplated in Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), more particularly Chapter XVII of CrPC, based on the material available. The prosecution can assist the trial court by filing draft charges, if necessary, the judge said.
Earlier, a battery of petitioners’ senior counsel, including P Wilson, contended that the trial court had framed the charges solely based on the opinion of the investigating officer and not based on the material available on record.
The charges were lame and shame and are liable to be quashed. CBI was wrong in alleging that the former minister held telephone connections more than that were legally permitted. The restriction to have only three connections will apply only to Members of Parliament (MPs) as per Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act and it would not apply to a cabinet minister.
There is no statutory bar for a minister to have more than three telephone service connections, they argued.
However, denying the same, Additional Solicitor-General G Rajagopalan contended that the charges had been framed in accordance with the procedure.