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A CBI Special Court has discharged former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran, chairman of Sun TV Network, in a case of illegal BSNL telephone exchange connection, stating that the prosecution had failed to prove their involvement. Chennai 14th Additional City Civil Court for CBI cases discharged the brothers on Wednesday. Last month, the CBI had opposed the discharge petitions filed by Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanithi and others, saying there was prima facie evidence to proceed against them.
The Marans, however, contended that they had not caused any loss and were innocent.The case dates back to Dayanidhi Maran's tenure as Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology between 2004 and 2007. The CBI had accused Dayanidhi of misusing his office and installing a private telephone exchange at his residence in Chennai, which was used for business deals involving elder brother Kalanithi's enterprise, Sun Network. The agency had alleged that more than 700 high-end leased telecom lines were installed at the Maran residence in Chennai under the service category, against which bills were never raised. CBI had claimed alleged this ‘scam’ caused the exchequer a loss of almost Rs 18 million. Apart from the brothers, CBI had also charged former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy and Dayanidhi’s private secretary Gauthaman. The Marans argued that the case was initiated without having any technical knowledge and has been politically motivated.