The scam was broken in June 2011 and the investigation was moving at a snail’s pace after the CBI filed a preliminary probe in 2011.
Chennai: The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet before the principal special court for CBI cases in Chennai against former Union minister of communication and information technology and DMK leader, Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi Maran of Sun TV, two former chief general managers of BSNL, his former additional private secretary, and two employees in the illegal telecom exchange scam.
Mr Maran allegedly operated an illegal BSNL exchange for the benefit of his brother Kalanidhi’s Sun TV network.
More than a decade after using 764 high-speed data lines at the former’s residence, which was used by a private TV channel causing losses worth Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer, the CBI filed the chargesheet on Friday.
Mr Maran, while holding the post of Union minister for communication and information and technology in the Congress-led UPA from June 2004 to June 2007 and other officials of BSNL, Chennai, entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused huge financial loss to the government exchequer.
He conspired with K. Brahmadathan, then CGM, Chennai, his successor M.P. Velusamy, then CGM (now retired), two employees, and the CMD of Sun TV group to cheat BSNL.
The cases against them are registered under section 120B read with 409, 420 and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (c) and 13 (1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The scam was broken in June 2011 and the investigation was moving at a snail’s pace after the CBI filed a preliminary probe in 2011.
The case was registered on July 23, 2013, by the Special Task Force, CBI, New Delhi. After a long delay, the case picked up momentum in 2015. However, Mr Maran allegedly attempted to scuttle the investigation.
He was accused of installing a number of high-end telecommunication facilities, including links, which had PRA/BRA/ISDN/leased line, at his residence in Chennai. The facilities were installed illegally under ‘service category’ and did not raise bills for the service during the period 2004 to 2007, and thereby caused a huge loss to the government exchequer.
During June 2004 to December 2006, as many as 364 telephone lines were installed at his Gopalapuram residence and 353 telephone lines were installed at his new residence in First Avenue Boat Club Road, Chennai, between December 2006 and September 2007. Nearly 10 postpaid mobile connections with nine vanity numbers were given to the private television channel on verbal orders from Mr Maran. These connections were given under “service category” and no bill was raised.
A huge quantum of data was transferred, which included voice, video and audio, through the telephone connections and all these facilities were allegedly used for the benefit of Sun TV network, owned by his brother Kalanidhi.
The CBI has stated that no payment was made for the installation and rentals of these telephone connections, which included high-end facilities like ISDN-PRA-BRA, broadband, leased circuits with OFC laying connecting both the residences, thereby causing an alleged loss to the tune of Rs 1.20 crore to the BSNL. The call charges were not included in the loss.
During the investigation, the CBI identified that a total of 764 telephone lines were provided to the then minister by BSNL, Chennai Telephones, and by MTNL, New Delhi. No bills were raised for all these facilities and thereby a loss to the tune of Rs 1.78 crore (approximately) caused to BSNL, Chennai, and to MTNL, Delhi.