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2G scam: A Raja granted bail after 15 months in jail; supporters rejoice

New Delhi: Andimuthu Raja, former telecom minister who allegedly orchestrated arguably the biggest scam in independent India’s history, was granted bail on Tuesday. He was released from prison after spending 15 months in jail since his arrest on February 2 last year.

A Delhi court accepted his bail plea saying his detention was no longer necessary and also because the other 13 accused are out on bail.

While awarding him his freedom, judge OP Sainisaid, “Considering the progress of the trial, period of custody of the accused and the fact that all other accused have been released on bail, I am of the opinion that further detention of the accused would not serve any purpose and for these reasons, I am inclined to admit the accused to bail.”

Saini rejected arguments put forward by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the prosecuting agency, which said that it was still investigating Raja’s alleged connection with a Mauritius-based entity called Delphi Investment and also whether the DMK MP had received what the CBI referred to as a bribe of 200 crore from another company. The CBI also claimed that Raja might influence witnesses, many of whom are from Tamil Nadu, Raja’s home state and from the telecom department.

Judge Saini ordered his release on several conditions. The former minister has been barred from visiting theDepartment of Telecom and Tamil Nadu without the court’s permission. He has also been asked to surrender his passport and warned not to influence witnesses.

This was the first attempt at securing bail by the 48-year-old MP from Perambalur, Tamil Nadu.

Raja’s supporters and party members erupted in joy as the news of his bail spread.

Surrounded by a large number of people who practically carried him out of the courtroom, Raja dressed in a crisp white shirt and pinstriped dark grey trousers, was all smiles while his wife and family members wept.

DMK’s Kanimozhi, who is also facing trail in the 2G scam, and TR Baalu were also present among several other members of Parliament. Outside the trial court premises a small group of people, believed to be party workers, chanted slogans supporting Raja and distributed sweets and chocolates.

Raja became a Cabinet minister at the age of 35 in the regime of the NDA government was back in 1999 and held portfolios in the UPA regime as well.

He became the telecom minister in May 2007 till his resignation in late 2010.

Raja’s legal representatives had asked the CBI Special Court to grant bail on grounds of parity with the other 13 accused that face the same charges as him but have been released on bail.

They had added that the case against Raja was ‘false and fabricated and not sustainable on law or on facts.’

The CBI for its part opposed bail on the ground that its probe into Delphi, a Mauritius-based entity, to which Reliance Telecom had sold its 9.9% stake in Swan Telecom, one of the alleged beneficiaries of the scam, in late 2007.

Raja has been accused of grant mobile licences and airwaves in 2008 to companies that the CBI claims were ineligible. The licences were also sold for just under 1,700 crore, a price set in 2001.

Some of the licencees later sold part of their equity to foreign telecoms operators making windfall gains. The national auditor pegged the loss to the exchequer at 1.76 lakh crore.

Short URL: http://www.cckerala.com/?p=10072

Posted by on May 16 2012. Filed under Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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