The Madras High Court Friday dismissed the petitions of former union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi Maran and other accused in the ‘illegal’ telephone exchange case, seeking quashing of charges framed by a CBI court against them.
The High Court also directed the CBI court to frame fresh charges.
Justice AD Jagadish Chandira directed the trial court to look into all materials carefully and frame proper and necessary charges in respect of all the seven accused, as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Justice Chandira said the prosecution could assist the trial court by filing draft charges, if necessary.
Earlier, the petitioners’ lawyers including senior counsel P Wilson contended that the trial court had framed the charges solely on the basis of the investigating officer’s opinion and not on materials available on record.
The CBI was wrong in alleging that the former union minister held telephone connections more than what was legally permitted, the counsels submitted.
The restriction to have only three connections would apply only to Members of Parliament or MPs as per the Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament Act and not to a cabinet minister, they said.
There was no statutory bar for a minister to have more than three telephone service connections, they argued.
Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan contended that the charges had been framed in accordance with the procedure.
The charges date back to the time when Dayanidhi Maran, grandnephew of late DMK chief M Karunanidhi, was union minister for telecommunications and information technology in the UPA-1 government.
The CBI has alleged that he misused his official position and got private telephone exchanges installed at his residences in Chennai which were used for business transactions of the Sun Network.
The High Court had on July 25 held that there were ‘heaps’ of material evidence against the accused and had directed the special court to frame charges and conclude the trial within a year.
The bench had given its order on a CBI plea, challenging the discharge of the accused by Special Judge S Natarajan on March 14 this year.