Big relief for Maran; SC stays Madras HC order

RSTV Bureau

Dayanidhi_MaranIn a big relief for former Telecom Minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, the Supreme Court has stayed the Madras High Court’s order that cancelled his bail.

On Tuesday Maran had appealed in the SC challenging the High Court’s order which cancelled his bail and asked him to surrender before the CBI within 3 days in connection with the alleged telephone exchange case.

On Wednesday morning, a three-judge bench headed by Justice TS Thakur sought CBI’s response on Maran’s plea and questioned its decision to arrest him in a case registered in 2013.

“What were you doing for the last two years. Why you have not arrested BSNL officials… Political vendetta should not come in the picture. Less said, the better,” the bench said in the apex court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for the CBI, argued that it was a big case of corruption. He claimed that the telephone lines installed at Maran’s residence were used for commercial purposes by the electronic media conglomerate SUN TV, owned by Dayanidhi’s brother.

“If these corrupt actions are not covered, then what for there is Prevention of Corruption Act,” Rohatgi appealed.

It is alleged that Maran, during his tenure as Telecom Minister got telephone lines installed at his Chennai residence and they were exclusively used by the SUN TV network for commercial purposes. Prima facie estimates show that a loss of Rs 1.20 crore had been caused to the state exchequer, Rohatgi claimed.

The bench asked the CBI why the probe agency insisted on a custodial interrogation. The bench referred to the NRHM scam in Uttar Pradesh and said, “This is not something where you need to arrest a person. In UP, Rs 8,000 crore went down the drain. Not a single person has been arrested… Why do you want him in custody?”

The court finally fixed the matter for hearing on September 14. It also and asked the CBI to file a reply to the queries raised by the bench, within the next two weeks.

On Monday, the Madras High Court held that “prima facie” Maran had “misused” his office by obtaining telephone connections “illegally”. The court also said that allegations against him were backed by material and rejected Maran’s accusations of political vendetta, ordering him to surrender within 3 days.

CBI had registered an FIR against Maran back in 2013 alleging that more than 300 high-speed telephone lines were provided at his residence and extended to his brother Kalanithi Maran’s SUN TV channel to enable its uplinking.