New Delhi: Dashing the hopes of DMK MP Kanimozhi and seven other accused in the 2G case, a Delhi court on Thursday dismissed their bail pleas saying the charges levelled against them were of "grave nature".

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The court rejected CBI's stand of not objecting the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and four others saying its concession was of "no consequence in the eyes of law".

The CBI stand triggered hopes in the accused that they would now be able to get bail after the Court had framed charges and the Supreme Court had told the accused that their bail plea  could be raised then.

"I may add that such an objection/concession given by the prosecution to the bail plea of an accused is of no consequence in the eyes of law as the bail plea is required to be decided strictly and solely as per the law and facts and circumstances of the case," Special CBI Judge O P Saini said.

The CBI had preferred not to oppose the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables directors Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal and Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani, whose names had figured in the supplementary charge sheet filed on April 25.

The accused have been in the jail for last five to nine months. Kanimozhi had been in jail since May 20.

Besides the five accused, the court also dismissed the bail pleas of former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, former Telecom Minister A Raja's erstwhile Private Secretary R K Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa.

Brushing aside the CBI's no objection, the judge said, "No objection by the prosecution to the bail plea of an accused may carry some weight in the facts and circumstances of a given case but where the allegations and charges leveled against the accused are of grave nature, such no objection, in my humble opinion, is of no legal consequence.”

"There is no distinction between the accused charged on the basis of main charge sheet and supplementary charge sheet. There is only one charge sheet in the eyes of law."

The court said the 2G case is of grave magnitude resulting in huge pecuniary benefits to the two accused telecom firms--Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd--due to the criminal misconduct, breach of trust and other offences committed by the accused.

The court, in its 76-page order, also rejected pleas by Kaninmozhi's counsel for bail on the ground of being a woman as prescribed under Section 437 of the CrPC.

The judge said the provision of Section 437 of the CrPC give benefit to a woman for the reason that they are generally considered weak and exploited, both socially and economically, and as such, requires some extra protection, but Kanimozhi, being an MP, belongs to upper echelons of the society.

"Accused Kanimozhi Karunanithi belongs to upper echelons of society and is also a member of Parliament. By no stretch of imagination, she can be said to be suffering from any discrimination on the ground of being a woman," he said.

Dismissing Morani's submission that he was sick and was not in good health and should be granted bail as per Section 437 of the CrPC, the judge said the medical records do not
suggests that "standard of illness of Morani is so high as to categorise his custody as detrimental to his health."

"Accordingly, in the facts and circumstances of the case, as narrated above, the benefits of this beneficial provision, do not accrue to them," the judge said.

Regarding the contentions of the defence counsel that they should be granted bail as there was no apprehension of their influencing the witnesses or tampering with the evidences, the court said this is a case of "unprecedented nature" which suggests that witnesses would be under a lot of pressure.

The court said most of the witnesses in the case were relatives, employees, colleagues and subordinates of the accused and the fear of their being influenced is "well founded".

"In one situation, a case may be simple but conduct of the accused may be bad and in another case, conduct of the accused may not be objectionable, but facts and circumstances
of the case may be serious, warranting inference of possibility of evidence being tampered with. In the instant case, nothing objectionable has been pointed out as far as the conduct of the accused persons is concerned.”

"However, this is a case of unprecedented nature. The facts and circumstances of the case itself suggest that the witnesses would be under a lot of pressure, given the serious consequences of the case for the parties," it said.

The court also dismissed the bail pleas of accused on the ground that they have been languishing in jail for over five to nine months while the trial was unlikely to conclude in
near future.

The court said after framing of charges under "a more serious" Section of 409 IPC (criminal breach of trust) which carries life imprisonment as maximum punishment, "there is no
favourable change in the case of the accused.”

Rejecting pleas by various accused that they have been languishing in jail for past five to nine months and there is no apprehension of witnesses being influenced or evidences being tampered with, the court said a mere look at the allegations and charges levelled against them suggest these grounds are not applicable to them at this stage.

The court said after framing of charges, the legal situation for them has only worsened.

Regarding the plea that trial was unlikely to conclude in near future, the court said, "It is repeatedly submitted that these reasons make out good ground for bail to the accused. I
have bestowed my careful and anxious consideration to these submissions. In the facts and circumstances of a particular case, these factors may be relevant consideration but in some
cases it may not be so."

Accused in custody till evidence is over: Court

The victim and witnesses should feel secure to tell the truth and for that accused might be
kept in custody till their evidence is complete, said a Delhi court on Thursday, dismissing the bail pleas of DMK MP Kanimozhi and seven other accused in the 2G case.

"If the witnesses do not gather courage to tell the truth before the court, the tripod (of accused, victim and witness) would break down and truth will not come out and cause of
justice would suffer," said Special CBI Judge O P Saini while dismissing the bail pleas.

"One way of generating the sense of security in the mind of victim and the witnesses is to keep the accused in custody till their evidence is complete," he added.

He said the courts have to strike a balance between liberty and rights of accused and safety and security of the witnesses to ensure fair trial.

"In the given case, victim and witnesses may be from the same group or family or they may be totally unconnected as one may be victim or witness by a quirk of fate or just by unfortunate circumstances.

Brushing aside the contentions of the 2G case accused that there is no apprehension of witnesses being influenced or evidences being tampered with, the court said witnesses would be "under a lot of pressure" in view of the "unprecedented nature" of this case.

The judge said, "Every criminal case is a dyad or triad constituted of accused, victim and witnesses... the rights of the accused are very important in our criminal jurisprudence
and they are required to be protected under all circumstances...."

"There is no doubt that continued and unnecessary incarceration of an accused is violative of his rights. If an accused is required to be kept in custody during the trial, the reasons for the same must be valid, both in law and fact.

"Having said that, I may also record that the rights of victim and witnesses are also no less valuable and are required to be protected equally during the trial," the judge said.

The court observed that rights of accused, witnesses and victim should be protected fairly and over emphasis on any one may result in subversion of justice.

‘Denying bail grave miscarriage of justice’

The denial of bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi by a Delhi Court was termed as a "serious
miscarriage of justice" by her counsel Ram Jethmalani who hoped that the Supreme Court would set it right.

"What the judge has done is a serious miscarriage of justice. I believe this judge seems to have decided that no relief should be given except by the Supreme Court itself. He is not therefore wanting to do what is plainly right.

"I consider it grave, grave miscarriage of justice and a deliberate misapplication of law, I hope the Supreme Court will soon put this right," Jethmalani said.

The senior advocate said that bail can only be denied if a person is likely to abscond to tamper with evidence but "there is no such evidence at least in the case of this woman (Kanimozhi)."

Senior advocate Aman Lekhi and counsel for Behura said the CBI by not opposing the bail pleas of the five accused admits to a case for bail.

"Only on the ground that it is a big scam and people involved are high profile, it is not appropriate to keep a person in prolonged custody unless there is credible justification for the same," he said on the outcome of the order.

Kanimozhi's husband Aravindan said they would be moving the Delhi High Court to appeal against the trial court order.

Former Additional Solicitor General Raju Ramachandran expressed surprise and disappointment over the order denying bail to eight accused. Though Raju did not appear for any accused, he said, "I am frankly surprised and also a little disappointed."

Court right in denying bail: Swamy

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who had approached court in the 2G scam case, described the denial of bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi and seven others as a "correct decision" since they had committed "crime against the nation".

He said one cannot compare the case of Kanimozhi and others with former Goldman Sachs executive Rajat Gupta getting bail in a case in the United States.

"This is a correct decision. The CBI was pressurised to take a ridiculous stand of not objecting to bail applications of certain people while objecting to others," Swamy told reporters here. He said courts had held that bail is a rule and jail is an exception.

"In this case, jail is an exception because they committed a crime against the nation. Rajat Gupta's crime was not a crime against nation and it was just a case of manipulation. This is much more serious crime.”

"These people looted the country," he alleged.

(JPN/Agencies)