Monday, June 20, 2011

2G scam: SC rejects Kanimozhi's bail plea

NEW DELHI: A special Supreme Court bench on Monday rejected bail pleas of DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar in the 2G spectrum scam case.

However, the SC gave liberty to Kanimozhi to move to trial court afresh for bail after framing of charges in the case.

The apex court said she could invoke section 437 of criminal procedure code which provides for grant of bail to women in cognizable offences. This means Kanimozhi and other accused, including A Raja and corporate biggies, must wait in jail for framing of charges before they can move fresh bail pleas.

The case was heard by a bench headed by Justice GS Singvi, who has been monitoring the case since the beginning and had asked searching questions to the government on the role of several influential people in the multi-crore scam.

Kanimozhi and Kumar have been accused by the CBI to be involved in the illegal transaction of Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV which was alleged to be a bribe given by a telecom operator which had benefited in the scam, PTI reported.

The CBI in its affidavit filed in the apex court opposed their bail pleas on the ground that if released, they could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.

Earlier two judges -- P Sathasivam and AK Patnaik -- before whom the matter was listed had recused themselves from the high-profile case.

Instead, Justice Singhvi, whose bench has been monitoring the case, will on Monday hold a special hearing along with Justice BS Chauhan to decide the bail.

According to informed sources, justices P Sathasivam and A K Patnaik conveyed their decision to recuse to Chief Justice SH Kapadia, following which he constituted another bench.

Opposing the bail plea, the probe agency contended in its affidavit that Kanimozhi and Kumar were key conspirators and Rs 200 crore transferred to Kalaignar TV was part of the "bribe" amount and not a loan as claimed by the accused.

The central agency submitted the special CBI court and later the Delhi high court carefully evaluated material evidence and other factors to refuse bail to them.

The apex court had on June 13 agreed to hear their bail plea and asked CBI to explain where the Rs 200 crore, allegedly diverted to DMK-owned Kalaignar TV in 2G scam, has gone and also to file a response on their bail pleas in a week's time.

The court had also asked CBI to come out with a status report on the loss to the state exchequer due to the award of 13 licences to one of the telecom operators and trial proceedings in the CBI special court.

Kanimozhi and Kumar had moved the apex court seeking bail on June 10 challenging the Delhi high court verdict that rejected their bail on the ground that they have strong political connections and the possibility of them influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out.

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