Monday October 22, 2018
Home Politics CBI questioni...

CBI questioning Dayanidhi Maran over phone-lines misuse

0
//
81
Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi: The CBI on Wednesday grilled former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran for over seven hours in a case against him for installing over 700 phone lines, including 300 high data capacity BSNL lines, at his Chennai residence, asking him more than 200 questions, agency officials said. He will be questioned again on Thursday.

Maran, who was communications minister in the first UPA government (2004-07), reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headquarters at about 10 a.m. and was questioned by the Special Task Force (STF) between 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.

However, an official privy to the investigation, when asked how much money from the state exchequer was lost because of the scam, pegged the figure at Rs.1.80 crore – much lower than the earlier Rs.440 crore.

Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com
Picture Credits: theindianawaaz.com

Another CBI official told IANS that the total number of phones at his Boat Club residence in Chennai were actually 770, including of private operators, not over 300 as mentioned in the FIR.

The CBI had registered an FIR in the case on July 23, 2013. Till date, however, only three people have been arrested in the matter, while the DMK leader’s name is not mentioned in the FIR as an accused.

The STF team in its seven-and-a-half-hour interrogation of Maran asked him if the high data capacity BSNL telecom lines were used to benefit the Sun TV group, owned by his elder brother, Kalanithi Maran.

“We have asked Maran to explain the misuse of 770 lines, including the 323 high-data capacity BSNL telecom lines being used at his Boat House residence in Chennai, and the mobile phone lines being used by him in Chennai and Delhi,” said a CBI official, who did not want to be named.

The former minister had been called for questioning on Monday, but but did not turn up. On Tuesday, he approached the Madras High Court for anticipatory bail which was granted.

n3 madras hc
Madras High Court

Maran was also asked whether these high capacity lines, in which a stealth cable was used, were used illicitly by Sun TV channel to transfer huge amounts of data without paying for the service.

The agency’s investigation also centres on the fact that the system was devised in such a way that except for the “authorised BSNL staff”, no one in the state-owned telecom company was aware of it.

The interrogators also asked Maran if he had used his network when he was a minister to install the high-speed ISDN phone lines, and why he facilitated these illegal lines despite knowing that it would cause a huge loss to the BSNL.

Maran, who faced several rounds of questioning, was was also asked to explain the answers given by his aides – former additional private secretary V. Gowthaman, Sun TV’s chief technical officer S. Kannan and electrician L.S. Ravi who were earlier arrested by the agency in the case. The Madras High Court has granted bail to them.

CBI officials, part of the STF, also said Maran was asked if he had pressured BSNL officials to install these lines.

An STF member told IANS that Maran will be questioned again on Thursday, and has to reach the CBI office at 10.30 a.m.

Maran was questioned in January this year and October 2014, while Kalanithi was also questioned by the STF in September 2014.

The CBI had started its investigation in 2011 – nearly four years after the matter surfaced. In 2007, the agency had recommended action to the then telecom secretary but nothing happened.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Facebook Asks Political Ad Buyers In UK To Reveal Their Identity

While the vast majority of ads on Facebook are run by legitimate organizations, we know that there are bad actors that try to misuse our platform,” Facebook said in a statement.

0
Facebook
A protester wearing a mask with the face of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is flanked by two fellow activists wearing angry face emoji masks, during a protest against Facebook policies, in London, Britain (From archives) VOA

Facebook says that anyone who takes out a British political ad on the social media platform will now be forced to reveal their identity, in a bid to increase transparency and curb misinformation.

The company said Tuesday that it will also require disclaimers for any British political advertisements. All the data on the ad buyers will be archived for seven years in a publicly accessible database.

Facebook, India, Fake News
CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at a Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California. VOA

Facebook is already applying a similar system in the United States, which is holding midterm elections this year.

British lawmakers have called for greater oversight of social media companies and election campaigns to protect democracy in the digital age.

A House of Commons report this year said democracy is facing a crisis because data analysis and social media allow campaigns to target voters with messages of hate without their consent.

Facebook, India, Fake News
This photo shows the app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“While the vast majority of ads on Facebook are run by legitimate organizations, we know that there are bad actors that try to misuse our platform,” Facebook said in a statement. “By having people verify who they are, we believe it will help prevent abuse.”

Also Read: Google Pixel Cameras Coming With External Microphones Support

Facebook said it’s up against “smart and well-funded adversaries who change their tactics as we spot abuse,” but it believes that increased transparency is good for democracy and the electoral process. (VOA)