The Supreme Court on Monday extended the interim stay of the suo motu order passed by the Delhi High Court suspending the bail granted by the special CBI court to R.K. Chandolia, an accused in the 2G spectrum case.
On December 7, 2011, acting on an appeal from Mr. Chandolia, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir stayed the High Court order dated December 2, 2011. The Bench had then directed the matter to be listed before a Bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi. Accordingly, the petition came up for further hearing before a Bench of Justices Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopdhaya.
The Bench extended the stay and issued notice to the CBI seeking its response. Out of the 14 accused persons in the 2G case, all except the main accused, the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, and the former Telecom Secretary, Siddhartha Behura, had been released on bail.
On December 1, the trial court granted bail to Mr. Chandolia and he was released from jail the same day. On December 2, the High Court passed a suo motu order which said “the decision [releasing Mr. Chandolia on bail] is going to have an impact on the bail application of Mr. Siddhartha Behura on which order was reserved [subsequently his bail was rejected]. In case Mr. Chandolia has not been released on bail, there shall be a stay against the operation of the said order.”
Assailing this order, Mr. Chandolia in his appeal said the impugned order was liable to be set aside as before staying the order the judge ought to have issued notice to the petitioner as his liberty was at stake. The High Court judge had failed to consider that the petitioner was charged with less serious offences and every bail was to be decided on its own facts. Contending that the impugned order amounted to interference with due course of administration of justice without any reason and notice, he prayed for quashing the order and an interim stay of its operation.
The Bench also issued notice to the CBI on the petition of Mr. Behura challenging the December 16, 2011 order of the Delhi High Court refusing to grant him bail on the ground that he was the perpetrator of the illegal design of Mr. Raja and that he could not claim benefit of parity with 10 others released on bail.
The High Court observed “One thing, which emerges from their [witnesses] statements, is very clear that the petitioner has been a perpetrator of illegal design of Mr. Raja and, therefore, his role was distinguishable from 10 accused who have been granted bail and were beneficiary of that illegal act.”
It had held that the nature of evidence against Mr. Behura was “very serious” and if offences were proved, it would entail life term under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC.
In his appeal, Mr. Behura questioned the High Court order and said the reasoning was erroneous and violated various judgments of the Supreme Court. He sought quashing of the impugned order and to grant him bail in the 2G case.