DMK gets a boost after court discharges Maran, Kanimozhi and Raja in telecom cases

DMK gets a boost after court discharges Maran, Kanimozhi and Raja in telecom cases

Chennai, March 14 (The Hindu/Huffington Post): A Special Court for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday discharged the former Union Telecom Minister, Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, and others, in the “illegal telephone exchange” case.

Earlier in December 2017, another CBI Special Court had discharged Maran’s  step sister Kanimozhi and successor in the Telecom ministry A.Raja in the 2G Spectrum allocation case.

The discharges gives the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) much relief and a shot in the arm to enable it face the next elections in Tamil Nadu confidently. Most of the accused were activists of the DMK.

Dayanidhi Maran, his brother and media baron Kalanithi Maran and five others appeared before the court on Wednesday.

Allowing the discharge petitions filed by them, CBI special judge Natarajan said: “There is no prima facie material against you. Hence you are discharged from case.”

The others named in the charge sheet are the former Minister’s then personal secretary V.Gowthaman, BSNL former Chief General Managers K. Brahmanathan, former Deputy General Manager M.Velusamy, Sun TV network’s Vice president, (Technical) S.Kannan and a technician K.S.Ravi.

The CBI, which alleged a loss of INR 1780 million to the exchequer, had invoked provisions under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A.Raja and M.K.Kanimozhi after discharge

Kanimozhi and Raja Discharged

Earlier, in December 2017, all the accused in the 2G Spectrum Case, including former Telecommunications Minister Andimuthu Raja and Rajya Sabha member Muthuvel Karunanidhi Kanimozhi, were acquitted by a special CBI court in Delhi.

The Enforcement Directorate had filed a separate case of money laundering against Raja, Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and others.

Loop Telecom promoters IP Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan, and Essar promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, were also let off.

“I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any charge against any accused,” CBI Judge OP Saini said, before pronouncing the “not guilty” verdict for all accused due to lack of evidence.

Raja was accused of accepting kickbacks in exchange for allocating 2G mobile air waves and operating licenses to select telecom firms in 2007-08 which caused massive losses to the Indian exchequer.
The allegation of corruption was one of the main reasons behind the downfall of the second term of the United Progressive Alliance under then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The recent discharges should give a boost to the political prospects of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu, the party to which the discharged persons belong.

(The featured image at the top shows former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran attending court)