Belying the hype surrounding the decade-old "illegal telephone exchange" case against former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his elder brother Kalanithi Maran, a special court for CBI cases here discharged the brothers saying the investigating agency had failed to maintain charges against them.
Among the accused were former BSNL general manager K Brahmnathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy and Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman.
The Maran brothers and other accused were discharged by the CBI court on the grounds that there was "no prima facie material" against them.
The CBI after its investigation, in its charge sheet accused that about 764 telephone numbers were allegedly provided to then Minister of Communication & IT, Mr Maran by BSNL, Chennai Telephones and MTNL, New Delhi and no bills were allegedly raised for all these facilities and thereby caused a loss of about Rs. 1,78,71,393 rupees to the exchequer.
Mr Maran has already been discharged from the 2G case and the Aircel-Maxis deal case. "The CBI undertstated the loss, limited it to cable laying expenses, leaving 800 lines user charges", he said on Twitter.
Couple of months ago, the party's Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A. Raja were acquitted by a court in the 2G spectrum case.
More than 700 telecom lines had been installed at their residences in Boat Club and Gopalapuram here, the agency charged.
Senior counsel Kabil Sibal, who had appeared for the Maran brothers, had contended that the case was foisted on them. Special judge Natarajan said the CBI could not produce sufficient material to establish the allegations against Dayanidhi that he got the alleged phone connections with malafide intention to use them for Sun TV. However, the brothers, with these legal reliefs, are expected to play a significant role in the DMK in the near future.