Maran had appealed against a Madras High Court ruling that sent back case to CBI for framing of charges.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an appeal by former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran and reconfirmed a Madras High Court ruling that directed him to face trial in the decade-old illegal BSNL telephone exchange case.
The Madras High Court had in March set aside a trial court order discharging Dayanidhi and his elder brother Kalanithi. Last week, it sent the case back to the special CBI court for trial and framing of charges within 12 weeks.
The special CBI court had discharged Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and others accused in the case. The trial court had allowed the petitions filed by Maran brothers and others seeking their discharge, holding that there was no prima facie case against them.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra heard the appeal filed by the Maran brothers on Monday.
The Supreme Court said on Monday: "The allegation is that you used phones for your brother's TV. You face the trial."
In 2013, the CBI had accused Dayanidhi of misusing his office and installing a virtual private telephone exchange at his residence in Chennai, which was used for business deals involving elder brother Kalanithi's enterprise, Sun Network. Maran was telecom minister between June 2004 and December 2006.
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 1.78 crore. The agency filed a chargesheet in the case on December 9, 2016.
Assailing this order, the Maran brothers said the high court had allowed the CBI's appeal without affording them an opportunity of hearing the matter on merits. The order was in contravention of the statutory mandate of Section 40 (1) of CrPC and the principles of natural justice. They pleaded for quashing the High Court order.