The Delhi High Court today granted DMK MP Kanimozhi and four others bail in the 2G spectrum case. The court upheld the principle of parity under Section 144 of the Constitution of India that upholds an order passed by the Supreme Court of India.
The Supreme Court held that the Indian judiciary works on the principle of bail and not jail to the accused, until proven guilty. The Supreme Court had earlier granted bail to five corporate honchos in the 2G case.
Along with Kanimozhi, others to get bail include Karim Morani, DMK-run Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar and private firm Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal. The Court meanwhile reserved its order on ex-Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura's bail plea.
The accused had applied for bail after the Supreme Court granted bail to five corporate honchos on 23 November.
DMK head M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi has been trying to secure bail from the day she was arrested on 20 May. However, her efforts proved futile as the courts refused to entertain her bail plea till charges were framed.
Although Kanimozhi once said, “I am not a soft target,” it is now clear that her father’s high-profile connections and the DMK being a stakeholder in the Central government have not managed to have any impact. Karunanidhi made two trips to New Delhi after her arrest and also met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi but to no effect.
In Kanimozhi’s bail plea, her counsel, senior advocate Altaf Ahmed, had contended that the trial court had ignored the CBI’s willingness to allow bail to the five accused. Her counsel had also pointed out that the Supreme Court had, while denying her bail earlier, granted her the liberty to move the trial court for it after framing of charges.
Ahmed had also claimed that Kanimozhi was not a direct beneficiary of the alleged scam and the Rs 200 crore transaction from Shahid Balwa’s DB Group to DMK-run Kalaignar TV was a valid “inter-corporate deposit”.
Kanimozhi owned 80 percent of Kalaignar TV along with her mother. The company, which received over Rs 200 crore from the Balwas of DB Realty via two other companies, returned the money and claimed it was a “loan” as soon as A Raja was forced to resign as communications minister. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) believes the money was a “bribe” paid for favours shown through Raja.
But the fact that the “loan” was returned only after the scam broke appears to suggest it was an attempt to cover her tracks?
The trial court Judge OP Saini’s order denying Kanimozhi bail had been criticised by media commentators and lawyers, but as Firstpost has argued earlier, the reasons he had cited – that in a case like this, where the stakes are high and the powerful can easily tamper with evidence and threaten witnesses, the accused need to be kept in jail till the bulk of the hearing is over – is fundamentally sound.
Judge Saini said: “The facts and circumstances of the case itself suggest that the witnesses would be under a lot of pressure, given the serious consequences of the case for the parties. This is further compounded by the fact that the witnesses are employees, relatives, family members, colleagues and subordinates of the accused persons.”
Closer home, a mammoth election loss that reflected people’s perception of DMK’s unbridled power and infighting within the DMK ranks has certainly not helped matters. The party had to concede two Cabinet berths — A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran — due to their alleged involvement in the 2G scandal. Kanimozhi’s elder brother and Union minister Azhagiri and MK Stalin are not backing her and the party is not interested in retaining the lost berths.
Updated Date: Nov 28, 2011 16:37 PM