CHENNAI: Noting that his judicial conscience prevented him from enlarging former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran on bail when innumerable undertrials in petty cases were languishing in prison, a single judge of the Madras High Court on Monday cancelled the interim anticipatory bail granted to the ex-minister and dismissed his bail plea, in connection with the illegal telephone exchange case probed by the CBI. The court also directed Maran to surrender in three days.
“When a number of undertrials have been languishing in jails even for committal of petty offences, then why Dayanidhi Maran should be extended special concession by enlarging him on bail, when as against him serious allegations of corruption, cheating and causing wrongful loss to the exchequer of the government to the tune of crores of rupees have been attributed,” said Justice S Vaidyanathan.
The CBI had alleged that while he was the Union telecom minister between 2004 and 2007, Maran abused his official position in collusion with officials of BSNL, Chennai,
K Brahmadathan and M P Velusamy, and other officials. The probe agency charged him of installing more than 300 telephone connections with ISDN-PRA and ISDN-BRA, Lease Circuit facilities and 19 post-paid mobile connections at his residence. The connections were availed of in the name of BSNL officials, allegedly to show them illegally under ‘service category’. It is alleged that the illegal facility was used for the benefit of the Sun TV network owned by the former minister’s brother Kalanithi Maran.
No payment was made for the installation and rentals, and by not generating any user bills during the said period, a loss to the tune of Rs 1.20 crore was incurred by the government, the CBI accused.
“It is learnt from the media that accusations were also made against him in Aircel-Maxis deal and Tata-Rupert Murdoch DTH project,” said Justice Vaidyanathan in his detailed 45-page order.
Ruling out the contention that the allegations were foisted due to political vendetta, the court noted that the CBI has not made attempts to arrest Maran though there was no protection of bail and he was very much available in their presence in January and October last year. “If really the CBI had made accusations with the object of injuring or humiliating the accused, he would have been arrested by now.”
Considering the prayer made by Maran’s counsel after pronouncing the order, the judge granted time for him till on or before 4.30 pm, August 13, to surrender before the appropriate authority.