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Before Raja, Maran too looted BSNL, had 323 telephone at home

Jun 2, 2011

At a time when
former telecom minister A
Raja is being blamed for
causing a colossal loss to the national
exchequer by fraudulent distribution of
scare spectrum, it has emerged that his
predecessor Dayanidhi Maran too looted the
BSNL by taking undue advantage of his
position.

Reports, Thursday, claimed that Maran, while
he was the Union Telecom Minister, forced
the BSNL to virtually set up a private
telephone exchange by connecting as many
as 323 telephone lines to his home in
Chennai.

The telephone lines, which were not meant
for official purpose, were all listed in the
name of the Chief General Manager BSNL
Chennai.

All 323 telephone lines were fixed
exclusively for Maran’s family businesses and
for this the regional BSNL office laid 3.4 km
long secret cable from his Boat Club home -
along public roads - to SUN TV’s office at
Anna Arivalayam in Anna Salai.
Sun Network is owned by his brother
Kalanidhi.

The CBI had probed the fraud and even
apprised the Secretary Telecom on
10.9.2007 about it, besides recommending
action against Maran for the fraud.
The Maran’s home exchange was
operational for several months from January
2007. The underground cables were not
ordinary ones, but highly expensive ISDN
lines, capable of carrying television
programming.

The CBI has written in its probe report that,
“These lines are normally used by medium
to large commercial enterprises to meet
special needs such as video conferencing,
transmission of huge volume of digital data
of audio and video– a facility that SUN TV
needed for its broadcast operations. Since
Maran was the Telecom Minister, the SUN TV
paid no price for it and got it free.
The CBI further states that the Maran
exchange was“programmed in such a way
that no one other than the authorised BSNL
staff were aware of the existence of such an
exchange created for minister’s exclusive
use”.

On the basis of calls made through these
lines and the amount of multimedia date
transferred between January 2007 to April
2007, the CBI calculated the probable loss to
the tune of Rs 629.5 crore.

Maran, grand nephew of DMK patriarch M
Karunanidhi, was union telecom minister
from June 2004 to May 2007.