Now will you accept it as wrong, Mr Maran?
‘I had only one BSNL line – 24371500 – and no other in my name or home at 3/1 Boat Club Avenue. The New Indian Express story of 323 lines is false. Why didn’t they get the facts from BSNL?’ yelled Dayanidhi Maran on June 2, 2011. The New Indian Express nailed his lie in less than 36 hours. The BSNL website itself showed, not one, but two numbers at Maran’s home – 24371500 in CGM BSNL’s name and 24371515 in Maran’s name. The BSNL letter of 6.4.2009, citing which Maran had lied that he had only one line – 24371500 – given to him as MP, proved to be worthless. The evidence now obtained from BSNL has turned out to be a devastating one against him. The new evidence irrefutably proves that Maran did have and operate, at government’s cost, the secret home exchange of 323 lines. BSNL has admitted that it had to “suppress” this fraud, after he ceased to be minister. The evidence – Office Note of BSNL Chennai circle dated 21.6.2007 – nails all his lies.
Maran resigned as Telecom Minister on 13.5.2007. Two weeks later, on 28.5.2007, a request was made to BSNL to convert the two numbers, 24371515 and 24371616 “working for the former Minister” Maran – to MP quota. It is this request that made the BSNL spill the beans on its file not only about the explosive truth of the 323-line home exchange, but also about its secret structure.
First, the BSNL Note says: “no information” was “available about these numbers” – 24371515, 24371616 – with Public Grievances Cell or computer cell. The officer had therefore, “to contact” Mambalam exchange “for details of these numbers”. Why were these numbers hidden from the Mambalam exchange? No answer. That these numbers were not with the computer cell or with Public Grievances cell gives clue to the fraud. It meant that they had been kept out of the exchange system itself; and they constituted a secret exchange with ‘2437’ as the common exchange code. How would the secret exchange work? Like this. If a subscriber in a BSNL exchange needs attention, he will dial ‘1191’ after dialling the exchange code. For the Maran home exchange, all calls for attention to 23471191 would get automatically diverted to 24311191.This was intended to keep the very existence of the exchange and the code ‘2437’ secret.
Second, the Note nails Maran finally as it confesses to the existence of his 300-line secret home exchange. “It is learnt”, it says, that the numbers “24371515 and 24371616” [which Maran had asked to be converted to MP quota] are “auxiliary numbers” of the “main number 24371500 with 300 extensions”.
The Note adds that this main line “is working in 3/1 Boat Club Road….in the name of CGM Chennai Telephones”.The Note shows that the fraud had continued for more than five weeks after he resigned. The Note confirms four crucial facts.
One, the main line 24371500 constitutes, and conceals within it, the 300-line illegal exchange that included 24371515 and 24371616; two, the fraudulent exchange was in the name of CGM Chennai Telephones, not in Maran’s name; and three, the illegal exchange was operating till 21.6.2007; and four, the charges for this exchange were borne by the government – the words “under the DTISD [Dept] category” in the Note implicitly admits this fact. The Note makes two further devastating admissions that again prove the theft of the 323 line home exchange by Maran.
First, it says, “for effecting the conversion of the above numbers” from free of cost lines into chargeable MP quota lines as requested, the main line “24371500 has to be suppressed” and “24371515 and 24371616 have to be created as ordinary numbers with STD facility and MP category”. Why suppress 24371500? Simple.
The existence of 24371500 would expose that it was the main line with 300 auxiliary connections continuously numbered from 24371500 to 24371799. So it had to be suppressed, and was. Second, the Note confirms the existence of further 23 lines at Maran’s home. The further lines are known in technical terms as BRA lines. The Note says, “there are 7 BRA lines” and “2 ordinary numbers” “working in the name of CGM Chennai Telephones at Boat Club Chennai”. Each BRA line consists of three lines that simultaneously transmit voice, document and video; so, the seven BRA lines actually mean 21 lines.
Aggregating these 21, the two ordinary lines and the 300 lines represented by the main line 24371500, the total number of ISDN lines smuggled into the home exchange of Maran was 323.
This is precisely what the CBI had exposed in its report.
The New Indian Express had made it public that Maran has stolen a whole exchange of 323 lines. The BSNL Note now provides the final, nailing proof of Maran’s guilt. Will he accept his wrong doing at least now?