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Telephone exchange case: SC instructs CBI to question Maran

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for six days, accusing him of misleading the investigation in the telephone exchange case.

The CBI alleged Maran of giving ambiguous and inconsistent answers, as well as retractions to them continually from July 1 to 3, 2015,  “deliberately hiding facts in his exclusive knowledge” told the CBI to the court.

The case bench was headed by Justice T S Thakur, who told the former minister to cooperate and respond to the queries posed by the CBI. Maran has to be present in the CBI premises from November 30 to December 5 between 11 AM to 5 PM.

The court also instructed CBI to report again if the Maran avoids the questions and doesn’t assist with the probe.

“However, we will not grant you custodial interrogation at the moment,” the court clarified to CBI.

The apex court also said that his custodial cross-examination is obligatory to uncover essential parts of the case as it suspects larger conspiracy around the actual use of networks for the benefit of Sun TV. These rights were exclusive in the knowledge of the minister and it counts for the real loss caused by the illicit practice of high-end telecom services.

The DMK leader Maran had applied to the Supreme Court once the Madras High Court annulled his interim pre-emptive bail and asked him to surrender before CBI.

CBI had registered a First Investigation Report against Maran as well as others asserting that over 300 high-speed telephone lines were connected to his residence in Chennai. Allegedly the lines were further extended to Kalanithi Maran, his brother and owner of SUN TV channel.

The court has also mentioned the pattern of questions to be asked by the CBI, that gave the order for the installation of the high-speed lines, why such an order was given, if at all, etc.

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CBI vs Maran: SC gives Maran a week to respond

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran has been given a week’s time by the Supreme Court – two member bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice V. Gopala Gowda – to respond to the CBI’s plea for his custodial interrogation. The investigation holds Maran responsible for using the telephone exchange installed at his Chennai residence for the family-owned Sun TV’s benefit.

The court directed the listing of the matter on October 1 as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought the date telling the court that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was leading the investigating agency’s case before the bench and requested for next hearing on that date.

On the last date of the hearing of the matter on August 12, the apex court, while staying the Madras High Court order cancelling Maran’s anticipatory bail, asked if any political vendetta was in play for the CBI seeking his custody for interrogation.

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The court, which had then chided the CBI for doing nothing for over two years since 2013 when the case was registered, is now pressing for Maran’s custody.

Maran’s custody is indispensable to digging up the conspiracy between Sun TV, BSNL officials and the former communications minister, says the CBI and further states it to be a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

(With inputs from IANS)

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