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SC rejects Kanimozhi’s bail plea

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 09:21

New Delhi: DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar will continue to remain behind bars as the Supreme Court on Monday rejected their bail pleas in the 2G spectrum scam. However, Kanimozhi can move for bail after the trial court hearing the case frames the charges.

An apex court bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice BS Chauhan said that "in our view, the reasons assigned by the learned special (trial court) judge and the learned single judge of the (Delhi) High Court for
The court said that Kanimozhi can invoke Section 437 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which provides for a consideration in grant of bail to a woman accused under the age of 60.

The judges said that the "fresh applications" for bail by Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar "shall be decided by the special court without being influenced by the rejection of the earlier applications (for bail)".

Both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had moved the apex court challenging the June 8 rejection of their bail pleas by the high court.

The two, named as co-conspirators in the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 200 crore, were arrested May 20 after the trial court dismissed their bail pleas.

The investigating agency said that the bribe was routed through Kalaignar TV, which is essentially owned by Kanimozhi and her step-mother Dayalu Ammal, who holds 60 percent stake in the venture.

Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar each have a 20 percent stake in Kalaignar TV, which allegedly received Rs 200 crore through a "circuitous" route from Shahid Usman Balwa, the promoter of Swan Telecom, which is one of the companies that received 2G spectrum when the DMK`s A Raja was the communications minister in 2008.

While dismissing the special leave petitions by Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, the court gave them the liberty to "file fresh applications under Section 439 of CrPC before the special court after framing of the charges".

Under Section 439 of the CrPC, high courts and session courts have special powers to grant bail to accused in cases of offences punishable with imprisonment that may extend to seven years or more.

Opposing the bail plea by Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar, Additional Solicitor General Amarjit Singh Chandhok said that the Rs 200 crore allegedly paid as a bribe was returned only after action was initiated against Raja.

He said that two companies through which the Rs.200 crore was routed to Kalaingnar TV had a small paid-up capital and were not in the financing business.

He said that the judicial custody of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar was needed as the investigation was in an advanced stage and they could be required for further interrogation at any stage.

In response to a court query, Chandhok admitted that the two were last interrogated March 11.

Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for Kanimozhi, assailed the trial court order saying that it was based on a misreading of the constitution.

Sushil Kumar said Kanimozhi was accused as a conspirator but nowhere had her participation in the conspiracy been shown.

Appearing for Sharad Kumar, senior counsel Altaf Ahmed referred to an earlier judgment of the apex court and said that continued judicial custody of his client might become a punishment without conviction.

He said that his client was co-operating with the investigating agency and there was no ground for apprehension that he would tamper with evidence.

IANS



First Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 09:21

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