CBI not to oppose in view of Supreme Court order granting bail to five honchos

The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on bail applications by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi and five other accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case to Monday.

Justice V.K. Shali adjourned the hearing to grant time to the Central Bureau of Investigation and defence to explain the applicability of the Supreme Court order granting bail to five corporate honchos in the case to the pleas of the accused seeking bail from the High Court in view of there having been no mention of Indian Penal Code Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) in the Apex Court order.

The conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust slapped against all the 17 accused — 14 persons and three companies — provides for the maximum punishment of life imprisonment if the charges against them are proved.

However, while granting bail to the five corporate honchos, the Supreme Court had observed that the maximum sentence was seven years.

Referring to the observation, Justice Shali said that while he did not presume that the Supreme Court had not been aware of the charge of criminal breach of trust that the special court had slapped against the accused persons at the time of framing the charges on an application by the investigating agency, the fact remained that there was no mention of it in the Apex Court's bail order.

Justice Shali asked how he could presume that the trial court would award the accused persons a maximum sentence of only seven years when Section 409 provided for the maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

In reply, counsel for Kanimozhi, Altaf Ahmed, submitted that the Supreme Court was aware of slapping of Section 409 against the accused while granting bail to the five accused and the order was binding on all the courts.

The investigating agency, in its submission, said it was not opposing the bail applications of Ms. Kanimozhi and the other five accused in view of the Supreme Court order granting bail to the five honchos.

The Court was hearing the bail applications of the six accused persons—Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, filmmaker Karim Morani, DMK-run Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd director Rajeev Agarwal and Asif Balwa of DB Realty after the date of hearing was advanced from the earlier scheduled date of December 1 as the accused had sought early hearing in the wake of the Supreme Court's bail to the five honchos.

The accused are now in judicial custody after their earlier bail pleas were rejected by the special court, the High Court and the Supreme Court. The special court remanded them in judicial custody when they had appeared before it on summons after filing of the charge sheet by the investigating agency earlier this year.