Marans challenge charges in telephone exchange case

Pointing out the allegation of forgery, he said they alleged forgery, but failed to explain what exactly was the forgery and which documents were forged in what way.

Published: 15th September 2018 05:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2018 05:52 AM   |  A+A-

Former Union Telecom and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Former union minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother and Sun group chairman Kalanidhi Maran have challenged the charges framed against them by the CBI court in the decade-old illegal telephone exchange case.

The accused have approached the Madras High Court stating that the court had framed charges against them solely based on the opinion of the investigating officer and not on the material available on record.
Senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul representing Dayanidhi Maran submitted before the Madras High court that the charges framed are “lame and shame”, and are liable to be quashed.

Admitting the plea, Justice A D Jagadish Chandira directed CBI to file counter and posted the pleas for October 3 for further hearing.

Stating that the entire case was based on the presumption of CBI and that there was not even a single document to prove that the telephones were used for the benefit of Sun TV, Kaul pointed out that there was no shred of evidence to prove that such connections were used. “Telephones cannot be used for broadcast. There is absolutely no evidence to prove that the lines were used for programmes of Sun TV,” he added.

“The CBI was wrong in alleging that the former minister held telephone connections more than that are legally permitted. The restriction to have only three connections will apply only to Members of Parliament as per the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament Act. It does not apply to a cabinet minister. There is no statutory bar for a minister to have more than three telephone service connections,” counsel said.

“The minister did not have 764 telephone connections as alleged by CBI. Even if he had them,  there was no statutory bar against it, he added. “In the entire charge-sheet, there is no single word saying the connections were used by the minister. The CBI has only said that it could be used, or can be used,” counsel said.

Pointing out the allegation of forgery, he said they alleged forgery, but failed to explain what exactly was the forgery and which documents were forged in what way.

‘Based solely on opinion’

The accused have approached the Madras High Court stating that the court had framed charges against them solely based on the opinion of the investigating officer and not on the material available on record

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