Chennai: In a major relief to former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his elder brother Kalanithi Maran, who heads the Sun Group, a CBI court in Chennai on Wednesday discharged both from the illegal telephone exchange case citing there is no prima facie case against them.
Responding to the verdict, Dayanaidhi Maran today told NDTV, "Justice has triumphed. I stand vindicated."
The CBI had alleged that an illegal private telephone exchange was set up at the boat club residence of Dayanidhi Maran during 2004-06 when he was the telecom minister and it was used for the business transactions involving the Sun Network. The probe agency had claimed that Dayanidhi Maran had caused a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.
Mr Maran's party, the DMK, had paid a heavy price due to corruption allegations against key members of the party when it was a part of the UPA-II government at the centre. The DMK suffered a rout in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK got a second straight term in 2016.
Mr Maran has already been discharged from the 2G case and the Aircel-Maxis deal case. Recently, former telecom minister A Raja and Rajya Sabha MP MK Kanimozhi - both DMK leaders - too were acquitted in the 2G case.
With his discharge in the illegal telephone exchange case, Dayanidhi Maran says he feels the taint on the DMK has been completely erased.
"I paid a heavy price. I resigned as Minister and lost elections. This is a big boost for the DMK. The party is a victim of witch hunt," he said.
When asked if there is any lesson that he has learnt, Dayanidhi Maran says, "Believe in judiciary. Never give up."
It's not yet clear if the CBI would appeal against this order.