Kanimozhi, 4 others granted bail by Delhi high court

NEW DELHI: DMK MP Kanimozhi was on Monday granted bail by the Delhi high court in the 2G case. Apart from Kanimozhi, the other accused who have been granted bail include Cineyug founder Karim Morani, Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharath Kumar, Kusegaon directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal. However, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura was denied bail.

The apex court had earlier granted bail to five corporte honchos in the case.

On Friday, the court had adjourned the bail hearing to Monday.

The court had sought a clarification from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the defense on Section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC saying the Supreme Court judgment granting bail to five corporate executives was silent on a charge that attracts maximum punishment of life term in the case.

Justice VK Shali heard the day-long arguments on the bail applications of Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajiv B Agarwal and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura.

“The Supreme Court judgment does not mention Section 409. I am not saying that the apex court was ignorant of the fact but it is silent on the issue,” said Justice Shali.

“The day the order (on bail) was passed, charges were crystallized in the trial court and it cannot be said that this fact was not known to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

Justice Shali referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case and said it talked about maximum sentence of seven years which could be awarded to accused (corporate accused) if they are convicted.

Responding to the query of the judge, senior advocate Altaf Ahmed, who appeared for Kanimozhi, said the apex court was aware of charges framed also under Section 409 of the IPC and its order is binding on all courts.

Meanwhile, the CBI did not oppose the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and four others saying they were private persons.

However, it opposed Behura’s plea saying being a public servant he misused his position.

The six co-accused had moved the court on Wednesday for early hearing of their bail applications after the Supreme Court granted bail to five corporate executives co-accused in the case – Sanjay Chandra of Unitech Wireless, Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom and Reliance Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

Following this, the pleas of the MP and the five others which were scheduled to have been heard on Dec 1 in the Delhi high court were brought forward to Friday.

After CBI Special Court Judge O.P. Saini rejected their bail pleas on Nov 3, they moved the high court on Nov 5. The special court dismissed their bail pleas despite the investigating agency not opposing their applications.

Counsel for Kanimozhi told the high court that the special court wrongly made a distinction between women belonging to various classes of society even when the provision did 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, the CBI read out a portion of the Supreme Court order granting bail to five corporate executives who are co-accused in the 2G case.

Behura was arrested along with former telecom minister A. Raja Feb 2, and since then he is languishing in Tihar Jail. Asif Balwa and Agarwal are in judicial custody since March 29.

On May 20, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar were also named as co-accused and sent to judicial custody. Ten days later Morani also joined them in jail.-PTI

Tags: