New Delhi: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar will remain confined to Tihar Jail as the Delhi high court on Wednesday dismissed their bail pleas in the 2G case, saying they have strong political connections and the possibility of them influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out.
“They have got strong political connections. Kanimozhi belongs to the same political party to which accused A Raja belongs and it is sharing power in the central government.
“Thus, considering their financial and political clout, a possibility cannot be ruled out that if they are freed at this stage, they would interfere with investigation or try to influence the witnesses. Thus, at this stage, I do not deem it appropriate to admit the petitioners on bail,” Justice Ajit Bharihoke said in his 37-page order.
The 43-year-old daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and Sharad Kumar, named as accused in the second charge sheet for allegedly taking bribe of Rs200 crore, were arrested on 20 May after the special court dismissed their bail pleas in the case.
The court noted the CBI allegations that Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar received illegal gratifications in the DMK-run TV channel from co-accused and Swan Telecom promoters, Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, from the account of DB Realty group companies as “reward for undue favours” shown by former telecom minister A Raja in allocation of 2G licences.
“Kanimozhi and Sharad accepted and received an illegal gratification of Rs200 crores in Kalaignar TV from the co-accused Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka in the year 2008-09 as a reward for undue favours shown by accused A Raja in connivance of other public servants to Swan Telecom in the matter of allocation of valuable scarce spectrum,” it said.
Justice Bharihoke, discussing the roles of Kanimozhi and Kumar in the bribe trail, said there was “prima facie evidence” to show that they were involved in the conspiracy and received undue benefits in the scam.
“Facts and circumstances, prima facie show their complicity in the conspiracy and their having received illegal gratification of Rs 200 crores in the account of Kalaignar TV,” the court said.
The manner in which Rs200 crore was routed from Shahid Balwa’s DB Realty Group companies to Kalaignar TV through a circuitous route showed that they wanted to “conceal” the money trail, it said.
The court noted that CBI, in its charge sheet, has stated that Kumar, who was regularly holding the board meetings of the DMK-run Kalaignar TV, was visiting Raja in connection with the pending work of the channel.
“Investigation has also revealed that Kanimozhi was a stakeholder of Kalaignar TV to the tune of 20% equity and was an active brain behind its operations. She was also widely covered by the Kalaignar Seithigal (News) channel.
“She also actively pursued with the intermediaries and DMK headquarter in the matter regarding reappointment of accused A Raja as minister of communications and Information Technology in 2009,” Justice Bharihoke quoting the charge sheet, said.
The role of other DMK leader and textile minister Dayanidhi Maran has also come under the scanner of CBI for allegedly arm-twisting former promoter of Aircel to sell his stakes to a Malaysian company, Maxis Communication, when he was telecom minister in the UPA-I government.