Bail hearing of Kanimozhi, 5 others deferred till Monday

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NEW DELHI:  DMK MP Ms Kanimozhi was hoping to get bail on Friday, but it was not to be with the Delhi High Court adjourning till Monday the hearing on her plea as those of five other co-accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

The court sought a clarification from the Central Bureau of Investigation and the defence 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.
Mr Justice V K Shali heard the day-long arguments on the bail applications of Kanimozhi, the Kalaignar TV chief, Mr Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films’ Mr Karim Morani, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Mr Asif Balwa and Mr Rajiv B. Agarwal and former telecom secretary Mr 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 Mr Justice Shali.
“The day the order (on bail) was passed, charges were crystallised in the trial court and it cannot be said that this fact was not known to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”
Mr Justice Shali referred to the judgement 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.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the matter till Monday saying: “We will hear the arguments on Monday.”
Responding to the query of the judge, senior advocate Mr Altaf Ahmed, who appeared for Ms 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 Ms Kanimozhi and four others saying they were private persons.
However, it opposed Mr Behura’ s plea saying being a public servant he misused his position.
The six co-accused had moved the court Wednesday for early hearing of their bail applications after the Supreme Court granted bail to five corporate executives co-accused in the case – Mr Sanjay Chandra of Unitech Wireless, Mr Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom and Reliance Group’s Mr Gautam Doshi, Mr Surendra Pipara and Mr Hari Nair.
Following this, the pleas of the MP and the five others which were scheduled to have been heard on December 1 in the Delhi High Court were brought forward to Friday.
After the CBI special court judge Mr O P  Saini rejected their bail pleas November 3, they moved the high court on November 5. The special court dismissed their bail pleas despite the investigating agency not opposing their applications.
Counsel for Ms 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.
Mr Behura was arrested along with former telecom minister A. Raja on February 2, and since then he is languishing in Tihar Jail. Asif Balwa and Agarwal are in judicial custody since March 29.
On May 20, Ms Kanimozhi and Mr Sharad Kumar were also named as co-accused and sent to judicial custody. Ten days later Morani also joined them in jail.
 

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