HC notice to CBI on bail pleas of Kanimozhi, 4 others
Issuing notice to the CBI, Justice V K Shali sought the probe agency's reply on the bail pleas of the five accused by December 1.
Besides Kanimozhi, the four others who have moved the high court against a special court order denying them bail on November 3, are DMK-run Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal and Bollywood producer Karim Morani.
Appearing for Kanimozhi, senior advocate Altaf Ahmed contended before the bench that the trial court has ignored the CBI's willingness to allow bail to the five accused.
Senior advocate Mohan Parasaran, appearing for CBI, again told the court that it has no objection to the bail.
"We reiterate the stand taken before the trial court. There is no deviation from that," the senior lawyer said.
The response of CBI counsel came after Justice Shali asked CBI if there was any change in the stand taken by the agency on the bail pleas before the trial court.
DMK supremo Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi has been in Tihar Jail since her arrest on May 20. She was denied bail by the trial court.
Earlier, Special Judge O P Saini had denied bail to Kanimozhi and others, saying the charges against them are of grave nature and the CBI's concession of not objecting to their bail pleas was of "no consequence in the eyes of law".
The CBI had preferred not to oppose the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar, Asif Balwa, Rajeev Agarwal and Karim Morani, whose names had figured in the supplementary charge sheet filed on April 25.
The accused have been in jail for the last five to nine months.
Denying bail to Kanimozhi, the court had also rejected her plea for it on grounds of being a woman, saying that she "belongs to upper echelons of society and is also a member of Parliament" and cannot be "said to be suffering on account of being a woman".
Saini had dismissed the bail pleas of a total of eight accused on November 3. Others whose bail pleas were dismissed are former Telecom Minister A Raja's erstwhile Private Secretary R K Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, besides Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa. Raja had not moved court for bail.
Dismissing Morani's submission that he was sick and not in good health and should be granted bail as per section 437 of the CrPC, the judge had said the medical records do not suggests that "standard of illness of Morani is so high as to categorize his custody as detrimental to his health".
Regarding defence counsel's contentions that they should be granted bail as there was no apprehension of their influencing the witnesses or tampering with the evidence, the court had said this is a case of "unprecedented nature" which suggests that witnesses would be under a lot of pressure.