Relief for Maran brothers, CBI court discharges them in BSNL exchange case

Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanidhi Maran

Shares of Sun TV Network Ltd. rose over 4% on the BSE after a special CBI court in Chennai discharged the Maran brothers in the illegal BSNL telephone exchange case on Wednesday.

A special court for CBI cases in Delhi said it was discharging all the seven accused from the case since there was no prima facie evidence to prove the charges against them.

Passing the verdict in less than two minutes, the judge said that there was no prima facie case made out in the charges framed against them. He said the CBI had also not offered a proper reply as to why the CD containing call records of the alleged phone connections was not furnished to the court.

In November, the CBI strongly opposed the discharge petitions filed by the Maran brothers in the case.

In the illegal telephone exchange case, along with Maran brothers, former Minister's then personal secretary V Gowthaman; former chief general managers of BSNL, Chennai circle K Brahmanathan; former deputy general manager of BSNL M Velusamy; Sun TV network's vice-president (technical) S Kannan; and technician K S Ravi, the co accused are also discharged of the charges.

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The judge had on March 9 reserved orders for today in the case related to alleged 700 telephone line exchange set up at the residence of Dayanidhi Maran in 2004-06 when he was the minister and its "misuse" for Sun TV owned by his brother. Bills were not raised for the same, which caused loss to the exchequer.

The counsel for the Maran brothers and others had argued that they are innocent and did not commit any irregularities as alleged by the prosecution. In fact, Dayanidhi Maran has not been part of any of the high profile party meetings in the recent past.

It was the second major legal victory for DMK leaders.

It may be recalled that Kalanidhi's Sun Pictures is producing Rajinikanth's next blockbuster directed by Karthik Subburaj.

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