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Gurumurthy demands CBI update on Maran ‘theft’ case

Author: T.R. Vivek
Publication: The Sunday Guardian
Date: February 19, 2012
URL: http://www.sunday-guardian.com/business/gurumurthy-demands-cbi-update-on-maran-theft-case

Worried by the CBI's "apparent slow-go" in investigating former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran's alleged theft of an entire 323-line telephone exchange in Chennai, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) convenor and high-profile chartered accountant S. Gurumurthy has fired off a letter to CBI director A.P. Singh asking about the progress it had made in the case.

"I am very keen to know about the progress of the investigation in the telephone exchange stolen away by Maran at huge public cost. Since this is the most daring act of robbery of public property, I would like to pursue it through writing and if needed by legal action," Gurumurthy wrote in his letter dated 15 February 2012.

In June last year, writing in The New Indian Express, Gurumurthy had made startling disclosures about how Maran had set up a secret telephone exchange with 323 lines at his posh Boat Club Road residence in Chennai and had linked it to his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran's Sun TV office through a smuggled underground cable line. Gurumurthy estimated that it had robbed the exchequer of Rs 440 cr in the least. His claims were based on a note detailing the theft sent by none other than the CBI to the telecom secretary in 2007. The whole system was set up in a manner that no one other than authorised BSNL staff was aware of the existence of such an exchange created for the exclusive personal use of the minister.

"I have been waiting for the past 10 months for the CBI to move in the matter which is regarded as "open and shut" case by many criminal lawyers. It is intriguing that the CBI seems to have made no decisive move and there have been no effort (sic) to secure the BSNL files or to interrogate BSNL officials," he added in the letter.

Speaking to this newspaper, Gurumurthy said that notings on BSNL files conclusively prove that under pressure from Maran, the state telco was forced to set up the illegal exchange at his residence but in the name of BSNL's chief general manager. "The CGM who obliged Maran was promoted superseding five other officers, and it later emerged that the person was a close relative of DMK leader and well-known LTTE sympathiser Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan. Maran therefore used the CGM like his domestic help," he said.

In November last year Gurumurthy along with Subramanian Swamy and members of his Action Aginst Corruption in India met CBI officers in Delhi where they were assured that the inquiry was going on and that the CBI was seriously pursuing the case. "I got worried about the progress and the intent of CBI when some of its investigators in Chennai came to me asking for photocopies of the BSNL file notings because they couldn't find it elsewhere," he added.

According to Gurumurthy, he was yet to get a reply from the CBI director and plans to take legal action in the case by himself if there's no movement soon.
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