Wednesday, 4 February 2015

HC rejects plea for police custody in telephone exchange case

The Madras High Court on 2 February dismissed a CBI plea for granting custody of three persons arrested in the ‘BSNL telephone exchange case.’
Justice R.Mala said the investigating agency may interrogate the arrested accused in prison in the presence of officials.
The three, V.Gowthaman, the then Additional Personal Secretary to former Communications and Information Minister Dayanidhi Maran; S. Kannan, Chief Technical Officer; and K.S.Ravi, an electrician of the Sun TV network, were arrested in connection with the case on January 21. The prosecution case, which had been registered against Mr. Dayanidhi Maran and some BSNL officials, was that a virtual telephone exchange was installed in the former Union Minister’s house to enable data transfer to the television group. Mr. Dayanidhi Maran’s brother, Kalanidhi Maran, owned the television group.
The three were later remanded to judicial custody. A Special Court rejected the CBI’s petition seeking custody of the arrested persons. Hence, the Central agency moved the court.
When the petition came up, the Judge asked whether the other accused had been arrested, number of witnesses examined and the documents seized. The CBI counsel said that except the three, no one else had been arrested. Nearly 60 witnesses were examined and 200 documents seized.
Counsel for the accused submitted that the affidavit in support of the plea seeking custody was defective. It was not as per the rules. It did not disclose the stage of the investigation, number of witnesses and the number of times they had been examined, and the possible clues they expected from the accused during CBI custody.
Justice Mala held that the affidavit in support of the plea did not conform to the law. All the three had already been interrogated by the CBI in Delhi and Chennai. The investigating agency had not stated sufficient reasons for seeking police custody.
Source: The Hindu

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