CHENNAI: More than nine years after the exposure of the clandestine operation of a telephone exchange from former union telecom and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran’s house in Chennai, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday filed a chargesheet against him and his brother, Sun group chairman Kalanidhi Maran.
It is learnt that a chargesheet has also been filed against K B Brahmanandam and MP Velusamy, both former chief general managers of Chennai Telephones, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited; V Gowthaman, then additional personal secretary to Dayanidhi Maran; S Kannan, the chief technical assistant of Sun TV and KS Ravi, electrician of Sun TV.
CBI investigation revealed that altogether 764 telephone numbers were allegedly provided to Dayanidhi Maran by BSNL Chennai Telephones and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, New Delhi. “No bills were allegedly raised for all these facilities and thereby caused loss worth to the tune of Rs 1.78 crore to both BSNL and MTNL,” said CBI.
Interestingly, a probe into the illegal telephone exchange started in 2011, nearly four years after getting complaints that a 'virtual' telephone exchange was allegedly set-up at the then telecom minister's house for facilitating data transfer from Sun TV.
The agency had recommended action to the then telecom secretary in 2007, but the department allegedly did not give its nod in the case.
Finally, CBI filed a preliminary inquiry in the case in 2011.
The telephone lines were not ordinary telephone lines but high end ISDN, capable of carrying huge data thus facilitating faster transmission of TV news and programmes across the globe.
CBI in its report to the then telecom secretary alleged that these lines were for use of large commercial enterprises to meet special needs such as video conferencing or transmission of huge volume of digital data for which heavy fee is charged but Sun TV got it for free.
It was only in July 2013 that CBI filed a case against Dayanidhi Maran and BSNL officials for allegedly allotting high-speed telephone lines to Maran's residence in Chennai which were extended to his brother's channel.