The bail pleas of DMK MP Kanimozhi and seven others accused in the 2G spectrum allotment scam were Thursday dismissed by a CBI special court that said all the applications were without merit. They will continue to be lodged in Tihar Jail.
Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said: “All the bail applications are dismissed. The court will begin its trial from Nov 11.”
Saini had earlier reserved the order on the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, former communications minister A. Raja’s ex-private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, directors of Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura.
All were present in court Thursday. Several of their family members broke into tears after the ruling.
“The facts of the cases as well as the charges levelled against accused are of very serious nature having grave implications for the economy,” the judge said.
While dismissing the bail application of Kanimozhi, daughter of former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, the court said: “Accused Kanimozhi belongs to upper echelons of the society and she is also a MP. By no stretch of imagination she can be said to be suffering from any discrimination on ground of being a women alone.”
The DMK, which was banking on Kanimozhi’s release, was shocked. “Party leaders are in shock. The party will remain silent. Lawyers will make a statement,” a DMK leader said in Chennai.
Rejecting Karim Morani’s application, the court pronounced: “On the basis of medical papers already on record, it cannot be held that the standard of illness of the accused is so high as to categorise his custody as detrimental to his health.”
The special CBI judge also said he had passed this order “to the best of my knowledge and ability without being influenced by the earlier orders on the bail applications or by any other extraneous influence, but solely on the basis of the facts and circumstances of the case”.
“The bail application are without merit and same are dismissed,” he added.
The CBI had not opposed the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar, Asif Balwa, Rajiv B. Agarwal and Karim Morani on the ground that they faced specific charges, apart from the “umbrella section” of 120-B (criminal conspiracy) IPC, which entail five years sentence as maximum punishment.
The agency has also slapped charges of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of IPC which carries life term as maximum punishment, against Kanimozhi and four others.
The agency, however, had opposed the bail pleas of Shahid Balwa, Chandolia and Behura.
Regarding Shahid Balwa and Chandolia, special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit had told the court that they should be denied bail as maximum punishment for the specific charges levelled against them was seven years.