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CBI files charges against Maran brothers
By Nirmala Joseph August 31, 2018
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CHENNAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed charges against Maran brothers, former union minister Dayanidhi and his elder brother Kalanidhi over accusations that they had been running an illegal telephone exchange when Dayanidhi was telecom minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

CBI Judge Vasanthi today registered the charges and posted the case to Sept.14. The Marans and five others accused in the case were present and refuted the allegations.

A special CBI court had in March discharged the Marans and others accused in the case, saying there was no prima-facie case. A single judge of the Madras High Court later quashed that order. Kalanidhi then went in appeal to the Surpeme Court, but it was rejected on July 30. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph rejected Maran’s plea, forcing him and Dayanidhi and others, to face trial in the case.

The CBI alleges that Dayanidhi, during his May 2004 to May 10, 2007 tenure abused his powers and established a private telephone exchange in his house in Chennai.

The 764 telephone lines, including 353 high-end connections, were misused to provide high tech links to the Sun TV network run by Kalanidhi, which airs programmes round the clock in several languages.

This activity is against service rules for union ministers, the CBI asserts. Dayanidhi is not entitled for this facility and had clearly breached procedures and norms.

The CBI says Dayanidhi caused a loss of Rs17.8 million to the exchequer.

The other accused are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager MP Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran’s private secretary Gauthaman and some Sun TV officials.

The Maran brothers are the sons of Murasoli Maran, one of the sisters of late DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi, and are hence cousins to the new party chief, MK Stalin. The case has been registered a couple of days after Stalin was crowned as party chief and launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party. “We will teach Modi a lesson,” Stalin declared, asserting that the DMK rejectes saffronaisation of politics that Modi is practising.

Kalanidhi and his wife Kavery Kalanidhi were the highest paid executives not only in the media industry, but also among the top in India Inc overall. Both of them earned salaries of Rs.780 million each in 2016-17.

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