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A special CBI court today said orders on the discharge pleas filed by former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran in the "illegal" telephone exchange case would be pronounced on March 14. According to the CBI, Dayanidhi Maran, during the check period of June 2004 to December 2006, when he was the Union minister for communication and information technology, misused his office and installed a private telephone exchange at his residences in Chennai and used the facility for business transactions involving the Sun Network. It alleged that he had caused a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer. More than 700 telecom lines were installed at their residences in Boat Club and Gopalapuram here, the agency charged. Among the accused are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Maran's private secretary Gauthaman, and Sun TV officials. Counsel for the Maran brothers and others have argued that they are innocent and have not committed any irregularities as alleged by the prosecution. On the other hand, the prosecution has said there is prima facie material to proceed against them and wants the court to dismiss the discharge petitions. When the pleas came up today, Judge Natarajan said orders on the discharge pleas would be pronounced on March 14. Arguing on the discharge pleas filed by the brothers, their counsel Kabil Sibal had last month contended that the case was foisted on them.
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