Kani stays in jail, Amar gets bail
New Delhi, October 24
However, as the CBI told the trial court that it did not have any objection to letting Kanimozhi out, the prospects of the Rajya Sabha MP getting bail next week have brightened.
Daughter of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK supremo K Karunanidhi, Kanimozhi has been lodged in the Tihar Jail since May 20.
Arguing before Special CBI Judge OP Saini, the CBI also did not oppose the bail pleas of Sharmad Kumar (MD of Kalaignar TV), Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal (Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables) and Karim Morani (Bollywood producer).
The trial court will deliver its verdict on the bail pleas on November 3.
“Of course, bail should be granted to them subject to the discretion of the court” by imposing restrictions on them, if necessary, for ensuring their presence during the trial, Special Public Prosecutor UU Lalit said.
Balwa, Agarwal and Morani allegedly served as conduits for the investment of Rs 206 crore in Kalaignar TV by Shahid Balwa, promoter of Swan Telecom that reportedly benefited from the scam. Kanimozhi is a director of the television company, named after Karunanidhi, who is fondly called by his political followers as “Kalaignar”, a Tamil word meaning scholar.
However, the CBI opposed the bail pleas of Shahid Balwa and RK Chandolia, who was private secretary to A Raja, the then Telecom Minister who is the prime accused in the case. On October 22, the trial court framed charges against all 17 accused in the case.
Explaining the logic behind supporting the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and four others, the CBI said the gravity of their offence was less than that of Shahid Balwa and Chandolia. If convicted, Kanimozhi and the four faced a maximum punishment of five years, while the other two would be sentenced to a longer period, Lalit argued.
Arguing for Kanimozhi and Kumar, senior advocate Altaf Ahmed said the Supreme Court had clarified on June 22 that his clients would be free to seek bail afresh after the framing of charges.
The other accused have sought bail on various grounds — health, proposed marriage of daughters and the social stigma associated with being behind the bars for a long duration.
Relief for Amar on health grounds
New Delhi, October 24
The high court directed him to deposit a surety of Rs 50 lakh and furnish a bond for a similar amount for being released on bail. The court also asked him not to leave the country without the trial court’s permission.
Amar Singh had sought bail on health grounds, citing infection in his transplanted kidney and the complications arising from hypertension, diabetes, tuberculosis and an intestinal surgery he had undergone 10 years ago.
Arrested in the case on September 6, Amar Singh was admitted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences a week later. He would continue to be treated at AIIMS despite getting bail, sources close to him said. Accepting AIIMS’ medical report that said Amar Singh was in a critical condition, the Delhi Police did not oppose his bail plea.
The police has prosecuted the former Samajwadi Party leader for his alleged role in the scam involving an attempt to bribe three BJP MPs - Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Singh Bhagora - for securing their votes in favour of the confidence vote sought in the Lok Sabha by the UPA-I government on July 28, 2008.
All four, along with BJP leader LK Advani’s former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two others - Suhail Hindustani and Sanjeev Saxena, have been named accused.
Amar Singh’s close associate and actor-politician Jaya Prada has welcomed the high court order, describing it as a Diwali gift.