Former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi Maran must face trial in what is known as the illegal telephone exchange case, the Supreme Court today said, confirming a High Court order that set aside their discharge in March.
"The allegation is you have used phones for your brother's TV. You face the trial," the Supreme Court said, dismissing Dayanidhi Maran's appeal in the decade-old case.
Last week, the Madras High Court ordered the framing of charges within 12 weeks against Dayanidhi Maran and his older brother Kalanithi Maran, who heads the Sun Group. A special CBI court had in March discharged the Marans and others accused in the case.
The top court said it would not interfere in that order. "These are matters to be decided in trial," it said.
Dayanidhi Maran, 51, is accused of setting up an illegal telephone exchange at his home in Chennai when he was telecom minister of India in 2004-06, at a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the government.
The exchange, with over 700 high-speed telecommunication lines installed allegedly with help from officials of state-run operator BSNL, was allegedly used to help Sun TV conduct business transactions and transfer data.
Dayanidhi Maran had told NDTV after the CBI court reprieve: "Justice has triumphed. I stand vindicated." He has already been discharged from the 2G case and the Aircel-Maxis deal case.
His party, the DMK, paid heavily for the corruption allegations against key members of the party when it was a part of the UPA-II government at the centre. The party suffered a rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and also failed to dislodge rival AIADMK from power during the 2016 Tamil Nadu polls.