Raja’s Ex-secretary Chandolia Gets bail

 

 

 

New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Thursday granted bail to former telecom minister A. Raja’s ex-private secretary R.K. Chandolia, one of the 14 accused in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case.
Now only two of the 14 people, including former telecom minister A. Raja, who were arrested by the CBI in the corruption scandal that rocked the nation, remain in jail pending trial. The other is former telecom secretary Sidharth Behura. 
Granting bail to Chandolia, CBI Special Judge O.P. Saini directed him to furnish a personal bond in the sum of Rs.3 lakh with two sureties in the like amount. “(Five have) been released on bail by the Supreme Court, five by the (Delhi) High Court and one by this court. I am of the humble opinion that further incarceration of accused would not serve any purpose,” said Judge Saini, adding, “Accordingly, I am inclined to admit the accused to bail and he is, accordingly, admitted to bail on his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs.3 lakh with two sureties in the like amount.”
However, the judge laid down some conditions. “If the accused directly or indirectly makes any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts as may be necessary to the court or to any other authority, the CBI would have the liberty to make an appropriate application for recalling of the order passed by this court,” the court said in its five-page order.
”He shall remain present before this court on all dates fixed for hearing of the case,” it said, directing him to surrender his passport.
Judge Saini also said that he (Chandolia) shall not visit Department of Telecommunication (DOT) without prior permission of this court. As the order was read out, Chandolia’s family members jumped up in joy and greet each other, with broad smiles on their faces. 
The same court Tuesday granted bail to Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, citing the “principle of parity”. The apex court Nov 23 granted bail to Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom’s director Vinod Goenka and Reliance Group’s executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara.
The Delhi High Court Monday granted bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. directors Rajiv B. Aggarwal and Asif Balwa. 
Giving its reasons for granting Chandolia bail, the court said: “There are no allegations that the applicant himself accepted any bribe. Charges have already been framed and the evidence of the prosecution is being recorded. Moreover, he is only charged for conspiracy and criminal misconduct.” 
It further stated that he was only private secretary to then minister and was not having any independent powers of his own. “Co-accused A. Raja was political head of DOT, whereas co-accused Sidharath Behura was its administrative head. As such, with due respect, his case cannot be equated with theses two accused,” Judge Saini said.
Meanwhile, the high court Thursday reserved order on the bail plea of Behura, whose plea was opposed by the CBI. Aman Lekhi, counsel for Behura, told Justice V.K. Shali that the persons concerning alleged beneficiaries of scam are out on bail. “The bribe givers and takers are also out on bail. I also deserve to be released on the ground of principle of parity and parity alone.”
Lekhi said that unlike other politically connected accused, the retired public servant lacked political muscle and financial clout to tamper with evidence. Raja, along with Chandolia and Behura, were arrested Feb 2 for allegedly abusing their official position and manipulating the tendering process to benefit certain telecom companies in getting licences for scarce radiowaves. 
The three face charges of criminal breach of trust by public servants under the Indian Penal Code which carries a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 10 years with penalty. 
They are the only two accused, out of the 14 individuals arrested by the CBI initially, left in jail. Raja is still to seek bail.
-IANS



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