DMK Member of Parliament Kanimozhi got bail from the Delhi High Court in the 2G spectrum allocation case on Monday on the principle of parity, with the Supreme Court having granted bail to five corporate executives last week. She had been in jail for more than six months (since May 20).
The court also granted bail, on the same ground, to four other accused — filmmaker Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. promoters Rajeev Agarwal and Asif Balwa.
However, Ms. Kanimozhi and the four others could not be released from the Tihar Central Jail as they were not able to furnish the bail bonds and sureties in the trial court as directed by the High Court. Special Judge O.P. Saini, conducting the trial, had left for the day before the order could reach him. They are expected to come out on Tuesday.
However, the court reserved orders on the bail application of the former Telecom Secretary, Siddhartha Behura. The Central Bureau of Investigation had opposed his bail plea on the ground that he was one of the prime accused, in the capacity of a public servant.
Granting bail, Justice V.K. Shali ordered that they be released on their furnishing a bond of Rs. 5 lakh with two sureties of a like sum.
During the arguments on November 25, Justice Shali pointed out that the Supreme Court, in its order granting bail to the five corporate executives, had not mentioned anything about Section 409 of the IPC (criminal breach of trust by a public servant). However, in Monday's 39-page order, he observed that it was in the knowledge of the Supreme Court when it had granted bail.
In the case of Ms. Kanimozhi, he also took into consideration Section 437 of the Cr.PC (bail on the ground of being a woman). “So far as Ms. Kanimozhi's case is concerned, she is entitled to invocation of additional ground of being a woman as envisaged… in Section 437…. If the legislature in its wisdom has chosen not to put any limitation on the power of the magistrate to grant bail to a specified category of accused persons, it was incumbent [upon the Special Judge] to consider this provision liberally in favour of the accused person Ms. Kanimozhi by the trial court, if there was no other factor coming against the accused… To this extent, the order of the Special Judge is not sustainable,” he said.
The court also accepted the health condition of Mr. Morani as a valid ground for bail. “He [Karim Morani] is admittedly a patient, who has undergone various surgical procedures and has precarious health conditions, though for the present that has not been a cause for concern but that is certainly a ground, which has also weighed with this curt in extending the benefit of grant of bail to him as has been a special ground of being woman in the case of Ms. Kanimozhi,” the order said.
The judge also imposed certain conditions on the accused, saying the CBI would be at liberty to make an appropriate application for modification/recall of the bail order, if, for any reason, the petitioners violated any of the conditions imposed by the court or created any condition not conducive to a fair trial.