Economy

2G: Delhi HC to hear Kanimozhi’s bail plea tomorrow

Arun S. New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2011 Published on November 24, 2011

The DMK MP, Ms Kanimozhi. (file photo)   -  PTI

The Delhi High Court will take up on Friday the bail applications of DMK MP, Ms Kanimozhi, and five others accused in the 2G spectrum case.

Enthused by the apex court order on Wednesday granting bail to five corporate executives accused in the case, Ms Kanimozhi and five others accused had on Wednesday itself sought an early hearing of their bail plea in the High Court.

The five others accused who have filed their bail plea in the High Court include Kalaignar TV Managing Director, Mr Sharad Kumar, Director of Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Mr Karim Morani, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables, Mr Asif Balwa and Mr Rajiv Agarwal, and former Telecom Secretary, Mr Siddharth Behura.

The High Court was to hear on December 1 the bail plea of these accused barring Mr Behura. In her application for an early hearing, Ms Kanimozhi cited the apex court’s bail order on Wednesday to say that it would be a violation of her fundamental right (of personal liberty) if she was kept any longer in jail, legal sources said.

On November 9, the High Court had issued notice to the CBI on the bail plea of the accused and had asked the agency to reply by December 1.

After the Special Court rejected their bail plea on November 3, they moved the High Court on November 5. The Special Court had dismissed their bail plea despite the CBI not opposing their application. The CBI had reiterated before the High Court that it is not opposed to the bail plea of these five accused including Ms Kanimozhi.

The accused are lodged in Tihar jail. Ms Kanimozhi has been in jail since her arrest on May 20.

SPECIAL PROVISION FOR WOMEN

Rejecting Ms Kanimozhi’s bail plea, the Special Court had said she “belongs to upper echelons of the society and is also an MP.... By no stretch of imagination she can be said to be suffering from any discrimination on ground of being a woman’’.

Ms Kanimozhi had sought bail before the Special Court citing a special provision under law (Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) which allows a relaxation for women. Even before the High Court, she has sought bail under this special provision to say that being a woman, she is entitled to get the benefit of this provision.

Her petition before the High Court says the Special Court wrongly made a distinction between women belonging to various classes of society even when the provision does not seek to do that. Besides, the apex court had in June granted her the liberty to apply for bail after charges were framed in the case, she said.

During the hearing on Thursday, the CBI read out the main portion of the Supreme Court order granting bail to five corporate executives who are accused in the 2G case.

CBI MAKES DISTINCTION

Earlier, during the bail plea hearing of Ms Kanimozhi and four others accused in the Special Court, the CBI had said the specific charges against these five accused would lead to a maximum of only five years' imprisonment, if they are found guilty.

On the other hand, the CBI opposed the bail application of two other accused — Mr Shahid Balwa (promoter, Swan Telecom) and Mr R.K. Chandolia (personal secretary to the then Telecom Minister, Mr Raja) – by making a distinction to say that if one takes into account only the specific charges framed against these two, they could lead to a maximum punishment of seven years, if found guilty.

These are apart from the “umbrella’’ charges (against all the accused) of criminal conspiracy as well as criminal breach of trust (for which life imprisonment is the maximum punishment). Also, Ms Kanimozhi and the four others accused are named as accused only in the supplementary chargesheet, while Mr Shahid and Mr Chandolia are named in the main chargesheet.

'BAIL RULE, JAIL EXCEPTION'

The five corporate executives granted bail by the apex court include Unitech Wireless Managing Director, Mr Sanjay Chandra; Swan Telecom Director and DB Realty MD, Mr Vinod Goenka; and Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Mr Gautam Doshi, Mr Hari Nair and Mr Surendra Pipara.

Observing that its earlier orders had stated that bail is the rule and committal to jail an exception, the apex court had said, “...refusal of bail is a restriction on the personal liberty of the individual guaranteed under the Constitution... Right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused’’.

The apex court also said it was “conscious of the fact that the offences alleged, if proved, may jeopardise the economy of the country’’. But it added that, “We do not see any good reason to detain the accused in custody, that too, after the completion of the investigation and filing of the chargesheet.”

Published on November 24, 2011
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