New Delhi, Jan 22: CBI on Jan 21 arrested three people, including V Gowthaman, the then Additional Private Secretary of Dayanidhi Maran, in connection with alleged allotment of more than 300 high-speed telephone lines to the then Telecom Minister's residence in Chennai which were extended to his brother's TV channel.
Besides Gowthaman, CBI arrested Chief Technical Officer S Kannan and electrician L S Ravi of Sun TV network, the agency said. The three have been arrested to "collect some crucial evidence" which may come up during their questioning, CBI said.
The investigating agency also informed that all arrested people would be produced before a designated court in Chennai on Thursday, Jan 22.
CBI has named Maran and BSNL officials, including the then Chief General Manager K Bramhanathan and MP Veluswami in the FIR filed in October 2013 following a preliminary enquiry in which the agency claimed to have found enough material to proceed with a regular case against the former minister.
CBI alleged nearly 323 residential lines were allegedly in the name of the BSNL General Manager connecting the Boat House residence of Maran with the office of Sun TV through a dedicated underground cable during his tenure as Telecom Minister.
The probe had started in 2011, nearly four years after getting complaints that a 'virtual' telephone exchange was allegedly set-up at the then Telecom Minister's house for facilitating data transfer from Sun TV.
The agency had recommended action to the then Telecom Secretary in 2007 but the department allegedly did not give its nod in the case, sources in CBI said. CBI filed a preliminary inquiry in the case in 2011, they said.
The sources said these lines were not ordinary telephone lines but costly ISDN, capable of carrying huge data thus facilitating faster transmission of TV news and programmes across the globe.
CBI had in its report to the Telecom Secretary alleged these lines were for use of large commercial enterprises to meet special needs such as video conferencing or transmission of huge volume of digital data for which heavy fee is charged but Sun TV got it for free.