PIL against Maran: SC seeks response from CBI, BSNL

FP

The Supreme Court on Friday sought replies from the CBI and BSNL on a PIL demanding a thorough inquiry and appropriate action against DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran for allegedly setting up a telephone exchange in his Chennai house and routing 323 high-speed telephone lines to his family-owned Sun TV Network offices when he was the Union Telecom Minister.

The PIL by journalist Swaminathan Gurumurthy claimed that this arrangement was carried out to facilitate the Data Transfer requirements of Sun TV Network and caused, on the estimates provided by CBI in its preliminary inquiry, a loss of Rs 440 crore to BSNL and the national exchequer.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Aman Lekhi contended that the crime was "brazen" and that the facts of the case were gross while the legal remedies remained "abject" in the present case since there was no movement regarding a fair probe against Maran.

Admitting the PIL, a Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam issued notices to the CBI and BSNL, seeking their response to the contentions.

As per the plea, Maran acquired these telephone lines in the name of Chief General Manager of BSNL at Chennai and managed to secretly keep them out of the telephonic system and records of BSNL while it was installed at his Chennai residence. It added that CBI had initiated a preliminary investigation regarding the alleged scam and also wrote to the Telecom Secretary Telecom in September 2007 but the matter subsequently was put in cold storage.

"It is evident from the fact that despite the passage of more than five years, and further after the petitioner wrote to the CBI on 15.2.2012, the investigation stands where it was in September 2007, stymied and scuttled. The actions of the government in scuttling/ attempting to scuttle the investigation are arbitrary, malafide and illegal," complained the PIL.

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