CHENNAI: In a relief to embattled former Union Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Madras High Court on Tuesday granted six weeks anticipatory bail to him in the illegal telephone exchange case.
Justice R Subbiah granted the relief on a petition from Maran apprehending arrest as the CBI had summoned him to appear before the investigating officer at Delhi today (July 01).
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Submitting that three other accused in the case — V Gowthaman, S Kannan and KS Ravi — were arrested by the agency in an earlier occasion in the guise of enquiry, Maran had sought anticipatory bail.
The prosecution case is that Maran, as union minister, had allegedly abused his official position by giving oral instructions to the then Chief General Managers of the BSNL and had 323 telephone connections, four leased circuit and 19 post-paid connections installed in his Boat Club Road residence.
The telephone exchange was allegedly used to transmit data for the Sun TV Network, promoted by his elder brother Kalanithi Maran, there by causing a loss to the tune of Rs 1.2 crore to the BSNL.
For the alleged offences, Dayanidhi Maran faces charges under sections 120 B (Criminal conspiracy) read with 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant), 420 (Cheating) of IPC and sections 13(2) (Criminal misconduct by public servant) read with 13(1) (c) and 13(1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act.
“I was summoned by the CBI during January 2014 and October 2014 for interrogation, to which I fully cooperated. I had also written letters on four occasions to the interrogating authorities to prove my innocence,” Dayanidhi Maran said in his petition.
Maintaining that the offence was purely civil in nature, he said it has been given criminal colour with ulterior motives and is being used as a weapon against him as and when the need arises. Further, he challenged the validity of the summon, alleging that the communication reached him only at around 12.30 pm on June 29 by fax and over telephone.
Brushing aside his contentions, the CBI submitted that Maran had never cooperated with the investigation and has deliberately concealed many facts pertaining to the case, which are still in his exclusive knowledge.
“There is sufficient evidence available on record to prove that it is a clear cut case of criminal offence and not a civil liability. Moreover, it is well settled principle that clearing civil liability does not exonerate the accused from the criminal acts committed by him,” said the agency via its counter.