The Supreme Court on Monday extended its order restraining the CBI from arresting former Cabinet minister Dayanidhi Maran in the alleged illegal telephone exchange case.
A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur gave two weeks to Maran to respond to the CBI’s claim that the former telecom minister’s custody was imminent because he is likely to 'intimidate witnesses' in the case. The agency also claimed that Maran’s custodial interrogation was also necessary to 'unearth the larger conspiracy' behind setting up the illegal exchange at his Chennai residence when he was the minister.
Maran had moved the SC on August 11, a day after the Madras high court cancelled his interim anticipatory bail when the CBI claimed he wasn’t assisting its probe. The HC had directed him to surrender before the CBI in three days, holding that Maran had 'misused' his office by obtaining phone connections illegally and the charges against him were backed by material.
Giving him interim protection on August 12, the SC had pulled up the CBI for 'hounding' Maran and said the case reeked of political vendetta.
In its response to Maran’s appeal before the SC, the CBI told the top court that BSNL officials from Chennai office, between 2004 and 2007, installed 727 telephone lines and two broadband connections at Maran’s home under the service category.