New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) The CBI will appeal in Madras High Court the discharge of former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanithi by a special court in alleged “illegal” telephone exchange case, officials said here today. They said the probe agency is shocked at the decision as it believed that it had very strong case on the basis of evidence gathered.

The CBI said it will seek legal opinion to file an appeal against the decision.

A special CBI court in Chennai today discharged former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi and other accused in the case.

Special judge S Natarajan allowed the petitions filed by the Maran brothers and others seeking their discharge, holding that there was no prima facie case against them.

The judge had on March 9 reserved orders for today in the case.

The CBI had alleged that an illegal private telephone exchange was set up at the Chennai residence of Dayanidhi Maran during 2004-06 when he was the telecom minister and it was used for the business transactions involving the Sun Network owned by his brother Kalanithi.

The central agency had alleged that Dayanidhi Maran had caused a loss of Rs 1.78 crore to the exchequer.

The other accused, who have been discharged, are former BSNL general manager K Brahmanathan, former deputy general manager M P Velusamy, Dayanidhi Marans private secretary Gauthaman, and other Sun TV officials.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.