Economy

Kanimozhi, four other accused in 2G spectrum case get bail

Arun S. New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 28, 2011

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The Delhi High Court on Monday granted bail to DMK MP Ms Kanimozhi and four other accused in the 2G spectrum case.



The four others are Mr Sharad Kumar, Director/Promoter of Kalaignar TV; Mr Karim Morani, Director of Cineyug Media & Entertainment; and Mr Asif Balwa and Mr Rajiv B. Agarwal, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables. They have been lodged in Tihar jail for over six months.



However, the High Court imposed stringent conditions similar to those imposed by the Supreme Court while granting bail last week to five top corporate executives accused in the case.



But Ms Kanimozhi and the four others will have to wait till Tuesday to be out of jail as the High Court order could not be placed before the Special Court during the working hours for completion of the formalities for their release.



The High Court pointed out that though all the 17 accused in the case were charged with the offences of criminal breach of trust (carrying a maximum punishment of life imprisonment) and criminal conspiracy, the Supreme Court had granted bail to the five top corporate executives.



“If despite the aforesaid facts, the Supreme Court has released the co-accused (the five corporate executives) on bail, the said benefit (bail) cannot be denied to the petitioners (Ms Kanimozhi and four others) on the grounds of parity,” Mr Justice V.K. Shali said.



Specific offences against Ms Kanimozhi and four others carry a punishment of five years imprisonment, while the charges against the five corporate executives are punishable with a seven-year jail term, the High Court noted, adding, “So, in a way, petitioners stand on a better footing.”



The High Court said, “Moreover, the Supreme Court order is binding on the High Court. The High Court cannot… do hair-splitting of the Supreme Court order and make out a distinction when there is none so as to deny the benefit of the order to the petitioners by saying that the petitioners are charged for the offence of conspiracy and criminal breach of trust punishable with life imprisonment.”



The High Court will resume on Tuesday the hearing on the bail plea of former Telecom Secretary, Mr Siddhartha Behura, also an accused. The CBI has opposed his bail plea. (See also Page 4)

POINTS:

- Bail conditions include: each of the accused executing a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh with two solvent sureties for the like amount; being present in the court during the hearing; and surrendering their passport.

- CBI given liberty to apply for recalling the bail order if the accused violate the conditions.

- CBI did not object the bail plea of Kanimozhi and the four others as it didn't apprehend that they will tamper with evidence.

- Citing last week's Supreme Court bail order, Justice Shali said, “High Court, being subordinate to Supreme Court, must show compliance and respect to apex court orders,” or else it will violative of the Constitution of India.”

- Special CBI Court and Delhi High Court had earlier rejected their bail plea

- Supreme Court in June also dismissed their bail plea but gave liberty to apply for bail after framing of charges

- Kanimozhi (Promoter/Stakeholder of Kalaignar TV) and Sharad Kumar accused of receiving bribe of Rs 200 crore as ‘reward' for ‘undue favours' shown by DMK party colleague Mr A Raja in allocating 2G licences to Swan Telecom during his tenure as Telecom Minister in 2008

- ‘Bribe' was allegedly routed through Cineyug Media & Entertainment and Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables

- Defence lawyers said the Rs 200 crore-transaction was a genuine one in the nature of loan

Ms Kanimozhi and the four others will have to wait till Tuesday to be out of jail as the High Court order could not be placed before the Special Court during the working hours for completion of the formalities for their release

arun.s@thehindu.co.in



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Published on November 28, 2011
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