The Delhi High Court Monday reduced from Rs.3 lakh to Rs.25,000 the surety amount to be deposited by former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitley before visiting abroad. Jaitley is facing trial in a graft case.
Justice Mukta Gupta, while allowing Jaitley’s plea seeking a reduction in the surety amount that she was told to deposit ahead of a visit abroad, said Jaitley had earlier travelled abroad with the surety amount of Rs.25,000, so there is no need to increase it to Rs.3 lakh.
The high court set aside the order of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court that had on May 1 allowed Jaitley, linked to a purported defence deal, to visit Singapore from May 30 to June 8 to attend a panel discussion after furnishing a surety bond of Rs.3 lakh in the form of fixed deposit receipts (FDRs).
Jaitley is facing trial for allegedly taking Rs.2 lakh as bribe in December 2000 for recommending a fictitious defence deal to the defence ministry.
Challenging the trial court’s order on the surety bond, Jaitley sought reduction in the amount saying: “I am not currently in any monetarily gainful employment and will not be able to produce a surety of Rs.3 lakh.”
Jaitley added that she was 65 years old and was dependent on her son.”For my day-to-day survival and expenses, I am dependent on my son who gives me an allowance of Rs.50,000 every month,” she said in her petition.
Even her entire savings, she said, would not amount to Rs.3 lakh. She submitted that earlier she had applied for and was duly granted permission to travel abroad as many as five times and on all occasions she deposited fixed deposit documents of Rs.25,000 as surety.
She alleged that even though her application was allowed, the court had indirectly fettered her right to travel abroad by imposing the onerous condition of Rs.3 lakh surety.
“The petitioner has never misused her liberty and privilege granted by the trial court. Therefore, the condition that a surety of Rs.3 lakh be deposited for release of her passport is wholly arbitrary and abridges the fundamental right of the petitioner to travel abroad,” said the petition.
The case against her stems from the sting operation by newsportal tehelka.com in January 2001.
The CBI alleged that Jaitley, her former party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (retd.) S.P. Murgai accepted illegal gratification from Mathew Samuel, a person posing as a representative of company West End International. The illegal gratification was accepted for obtaining supply orders for hand-held thermal imagers for the army.
The CBI filed the chargesheet against Jaitley and two others in 2006.