Telephone exchange case: SC gives CBI two weeks to study Maran’s new documents

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday granted the CBI two weeks’ time to respond to the fresh documents filed by the former communications minister Dayanidhi Maran to back his claim that, as a minister, he was entitled to the telephone connections that were installed at his Chennai residence.

A bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice V. Gopala Gowda allowed the plea by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi seeking two weeks time for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go through the papers and file a reply.

Maran claimed that he got these documents through RTI and they supported his contention that as communications minister, he was entitled these connections, which are being described by the agency as illegal and were misused for the family owned Sun TV for transfer of data.

The court was told that these documents were received from department of telecom and other authorities.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Maran, told the court that the entire case was motivated.

Taking the court through the sequence of events, he said that the case related to 2004-2007, but an FIR was registered in June 2013 and thereafter there were several rounds of questioning of Maran by the CBI and now investigating agency was asking for his custodial interrogation.

Singhvi described as “mystifying and motivated” the CBI’s demand for “custodial interrogation” even though all the relevant papers in Maran’s possession have already been handed over to the agency.

As he referred to the documents got in response to RTI application to back his contention that Maran as minister was entitled to telephone connections, Rohatgi disputed it saying that they were not voice telephony but were for the transmission of data for Sun TV.

The court is hearing a plea by Maran challenging August 10 Madras High Court order cancelling his anticipatory bail that was granted to him on June 30 for six weeks tagged with condition that he would co-operate with CBI in the investigation.

The CBI has alleged that Maran entered into a conspiracy with BSNL officials to use the telephone facilities installed at his Chennai residence for Sun TV.

Right in the first hearing of the matter, the apex court has doubted the intention of the investigating agency as it had on August 12 pulled it up for doing nothing for over two years since 2013 when the case was registered and now pressing for Maran’s custody for interrogation.

During the hearing on August 12, the court had even wondered if it was not a case of “political vendetta”.

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