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Updated: October 25, 2011 09:30 IST

CBI does not oppose bail for Kanimozhi, four others

Jiby Kattakayam
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In this May 14, 2011 file photo, DMK MP Kanimozhi arrives at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.
The Hindu
In this May 14, 2011 file photo, DMK MP Kanimozhi arrives at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

The prosecution in the 2G spectrum case did not oppose bail for the DMK's Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and four others on Monday, two days after the Special CBI Court framed charges against the 17 accused and ordered trial.

However, Special Public Prosecutor U. U. Lalit opposed the bail applications of R. K. Chandolia, private secretary to the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa.

Till date, Mr. Raja has not moved his bail application. The former Telecom Secretary, Siddartha Behura's bail application is listed for hearing on November 1.

Others whose bail applications were not opposed are: Kalaignar TV director Sharad Kumar, film producer Karim Morani and Kusegaon Realty promoters Rajeev Aggarwal and Asif Balwa — all of whom, Mr. Lalit said, figured only in the supplementary charge sheet filed by the CBI. Orders on the bail applications were reserved for November 3.

Mr. Lalit began his submissions categorising the seven bail applications pending before the court — those who were specifically charged for offences punishable with imprisonment up to five years and the others for offences punishable with imprisonment up to seven years.

This meant that Mr. Shahid Balwa, who has been charged, under Section 420 (cheating), and Mr. Chandolia, charged under Section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, fell in the latter category.

However, in a reprieve to Ms. Kanimozhi and others, the prosecutor said the “umbrella charge” of criminal conspiracy to commit breach of trust, cheating, forgery, use of forged documents, payment/receipt of illegal gratification or a valuable thing for a consideration known to be inadequate, and criminal misconduct, against all the accused need not be considered during bail, and only the specific charges against those in the former category need to be looked into.

Mr. Lalit said: “Let us put Shahid Balwa and Chandolia in a different category at this stage... I submit, one can make distinction so far as those for whom the maximum punishment can be five years and those for whom the maximum punishment can be seven years. At this juncture, I am opposing the bail pleas of Chandolia and Shahid Balwa.” The prosecutor recommended bail for the other five accused and left it to the discretion of the court to impose conditions to ensure their presence during hearings.

Arguing for Ms. Kanimozhi's bail, senior advocate Altaf Ahmad pointed out that the CBI had not submitted that the accused could tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. Counsel sought bail also on grounds of her being a woman and mother.

Senior advocate Sidhartha Luthra, appearing for Mr. Morani, argued for bail, primarily on medical grounds. He said Mr. Morani was not involved in any manner in the spectrum allocation.

Mr. Morani, Mr. Chandolia and Mr. Rajeev Aggarwal, in their submissions, said they had daughters of marriageable age, and this necessitated their release from jail.

Vijay Aggarwal, counsel for the Balwas and Mr. Aggarwal, said the ground of “magnitude of crime” that the court had cited to dismiss their earlier bail applications did stand now.

“Prosecution will not speak in court about the magnitude of crime as your [Special Judge O. P. Saini] order on charges says ‘loss' does not matter,” counsel claimed.

Saini upset

PTI reports:

Mr. Saini expressed his displeasure against the high-profile accused for making a hue and cry over his decision to record in advance that they were not pleading guilty and were facing the trial.

“What was wrong if I recorded your guilt in advance,” was how Mr. Saini reacted to the reports quoting defence counsel questioning him for coming out with a prepared text while ordering the framing of charges.

He expressed anguish that despite arguing in length against the framing of charges, defence counsel told the media that he (the judge) committed a mistake by writing on his own in the order that the accused “plead not guilty and claim trial.”

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I agree to both comments below, if she is found guilty at the end of the trial. As of now,during the pre-trial period, after the inital enquiry, the rule is that some cases can be allowed bail, and some cannot. This falls in the category of bail. We have to stick to the law, otherwise we become revolutionaries.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Oct 26, 2011 at 02:33 IST

More than 60 years after Independence, this colonial practice of letting the rich criminals get away with murder is still continuing. The Congress government giving licences to loot the public.

from:  Sudhir
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 15:20 IST

Has the CBI changed it's tactics after Mr. Karunanidhi and his wife met Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the Boss of the Government of India, in New Delhi a few days ago?

from:  Sanjay Tirdiya
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 14:45 IST

I think that we should not suddenly become a tyrannical kind of country, just because we are getting some awareness of corruption, and getting the will to fight it. Ultimately, we should not fall prey to the old adage ( I may not be getting it exact), " Be careful that in the process of hunting monsters, one does not become a monster oneself". This is not such a terrible crime that it does not deserve bail, after all, where is the defendant going to go, especially being such a prominent person. Additionally, there are many higher ups, including chief ministers, attending courts to answer questions in cases against them, they are quite free to go about, even without bail!

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 11:36 IST

While millions of poor and accused do time for crimes they may not have committed, some influential and rich manage to manipulate the judiciary. The present CJI seems to be an upright man! Kanimozhi spent a hot summer in Tihar, the rationalist is dismayed that she will have to give Diwali a miss. But the "Poetess" will have a lot of time on her hands to think of this Poetic Justice!

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 10:40 IST

In June the CBI opposed Kanimozhi's bail application: "In its reply to the Special Leave Petition filed by Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Kumar before the apex court, the CBI expressed apprehension that if the two are enlarged on bail, they may influence the witnesses in the case and tamper with evidence" ("2G: CBI opposes Kanimozhi’s bail plea" by Arun S in The Hindu's Business Line). What has materially changed now in the case that makes the CBI not fear this aspect anymore?

from:  V. Vanamali
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 10:28 IST

I think, a decision on the bail applications of all the high profile accused will be a crystal ball to predict the likely outcome of this mega scandal of the century. Will the CBI certify that these accused would not tamper with the evidences and would not intimidate or threaten the witnesses? Lets wait and see how our indpendent and highly respected Judiciary will handle these cases.

from:  Kannan
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 07:38 IST

It is legal matter.But common people do not like this steps of CBI,because it is related the biggest scam in Indian history,It may be concluded that due to POLITICAL PRESSURE it was done.

Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 07:02 IST

Being a woman or mother can get bail? Then there is no need for any women prison. This is special treatment for VIP's crime. Can the law be applied uniformly across all citizens? This is shameless government influence by corrupt DMK and Congress.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Oct 25, 2011 at 06:49 IST

Hope they get bail. It is very rare for a politician to be found guilty
or sent to prison in India. Our legal system is slow and tedious and
tends to be cautious more than judging by the rule.

from:  sankar
Posted on: Oct 24, 2011 at 23:15 IST
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