A CBI probe has found that in 2004-2007, former Union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran had allegedly caused a loss of Rs. 1.2 crore to the exchequer by illegally installing more than 323 high-speed up telephone lines at his Chennai residence. This was done in collusion with two senior BSNL officials, who are now retired.
The agency’s FIR, lodged in 2013, had accused Maran and the officials of criminal misconduct. They have denied the allegations. Despite efforts, Maran could not be reached for comments .
The virtual telephone exchange connected Maran’s Boat House residence with a television channel office via a dedicated underground cable link, said a CBI official.
“The high-capacity telephone lines and lease circuit facilities were set up illegally in the name of two then chief general managers of the BSNL, Chennai, to ensure that they fell under the service category,” said the official. As a result, BSNL could charge nothing for either the installation or the subsequent use of the lines and other facilities.
The lines, usually procured by commercial enterprises, were capable of digitally transmitting audio and video data simultaneously, video-conferencing, and faster transmission of TV news and programmes. “But nothing was paid to the BSNL. No user bills were generated during the period, which resulted in a loss of around `1.2 crore to the exchequer,” said the official.
“Our probe will be over soon, after which a final report be submitted in the trial court,” said a source.