New Delhi: The bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, arrested for his role in the 2G scam, was rejected on Friday by a Delhi court on grounds of “enormity” of allegations and fears that he might influence witnesses.
“Considering the magnitude of the crime, nature and enormity of the allegations, character of evidence on record and the apprehensions that the witnesses may be influenced in case the accused is released on bail, I have no hesitation in holding that accused has failed to make out a case for bail,” special CBI Judge O. P. Saini said.
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“The bail application is without merit and the same is dismissed,” he said.
The court, in its 167-page order, also noted that the possibility of witnesses being influenced by the accused could not be ruled out if he is released on bail.
“I may add that all the material witnesses were at one time subordinates of the accused and the possibility of they being influenced by the accused cannot be ruled out.
“Such possibility is more real in cases where there is or was a relationship of superior and subordinate between the accused and the witnesses and the case is of grave magnitude, like the instant case, which involves financial loss to the state exchequer to the tune of about Rs30,000 crore. Such possibility is not remote, far fetched or imaginary,” the judge said.
The court had reserved its order on 27 May on Behura’s bail plea after hearing detailed arguments with the CBI vehemently opposing it, saying that the former telecom secretary, who was holding a key post, cannot be let off from the charge of conspiracy.
Earlier while countering the conspiracy charge against him, Behura had said he was implementing a policy backed by the Prime Minister.
He had said he was only “doing his duty” and following the orders of erstwhile telecom minister A. Raja, who had been given a second stint in Sanchar Bhawan by the Prime Minister in 2009, one year after the government expressed its interest in allocating spectrum on first-come-first-served basis and issued formal Letters of Intent (LoI) for it.
Behura’s counsel and senior advocate Aman Lekhi had submitted that the Prime Minister gave Raja a second term in 2009, one year after the issuance of Letters of Intent (LoI), and this shows the government’s concurrence on the policy.
The CBI, however, had said Behura, by virtue of holding the important post of telecom secretary, had full authority to complain to the Cabinet if he was not in agreement with Raja on any policy.
“As per the service conduct rules, he (Behura) was not obliged to follow the illegal orders of the minister (Raja),” the CBI had said.
The argument was opposed by Behura’s counsel, who said, “Is there anyone more important than the Prime Minister in the government? None. There cannot be.”
Behura was arrested on 2 February and is presently lodged in Tihar Jail along with 13 other accused in the case including former Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa.