Kanimozhi, five others released from Tihar (Roundup)

November 29th, 2011 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, a key accused in the spectrum scandal, walked out of Tihar jail here Tuesday after spending 194 long days. Five others were also released with her.

“They have been released,” prison spokesman Sunil Gupta told IANS, soon after all of them were driven away in separate cars from one of the gates not mobbed by journalists and photographers.

Apart from Kanimozhi, 43 and daughter of former Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Karunanidhi, the Delhi High Court had Monday given bail to Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films’ Karim Morani, and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal.

Mumbai-based realtor Shahid Balwa, who was among the first to be jailed Feb 8, won bail Tuesday. He too walked out of the prison.

All of them were given bail on the ground of parity with other accused who got bail in the Supreme Court Nov 23.

Kanimozhi had to wait till Tuesday because her release warrant could not reach the jail due to procedural delay.

At least 10 cars, packed with DMK leaders, entered the Tihar premises to take away Kanimozhi, whose imprisonment had strained ties between the DMK and the Congress party.

Kanimozhi later went to her official residence in the heart of the capital. She walked in with her husband G. Aravindan but she defly avoided a large pack of TV cameramen.

According to DMK leader T.R. Baalu, Kanimozhi will fly to Chennai Dec 3. DMK sources said she wants to have a quiet time with her family.

“She will be back (in Delhi Dec 6) to attend the daily hearing,” Baalu told reporters.

On May 20, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar were named co-accused and jailed. Ten days later Morani joined them. Balwa and Agarwal had been jailed March 29.

Kanimozhi was known to be close to A. Raja, the former telecommunication minister from the DMK who is said to be at the heart of the spectrum scam.
Raja is still in Tihar jail.

Granting Shahid Balwa bail Tuesday, special CBI judge O.P. Saini asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs.5 lakh with two sureties of like amount.

“Since as many as 10 co-accused have been admitted to bail by the Supreme Court as well as by the high court, and charges against the accused Vinod Goenka (who was given bail by the apex court) and accused Shahid Balwa are almost identical, following the principle of parity I am inclined to admit him bail,” said Judge Saini.

The bail plea of R.K. Chandolia, ex-aide of A. Raja, has been kept pending for Wednesday. When this became known, Chandolia’s wife and two daughters broke down in the court room.

In contrast, Balwa’s family jumped beaming in joy and greeted each other. Balwa’s father said he will leave for Haj pilgrimage Saturday.

“I will leave for Haj while my sons Shahid and Asif Balwa (who got bail Monday) will go to Mumbai for four days,” he said.

The high court will Thursday resume hearing on the bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, whose plea was strongly opposed by the CBI.

Now, only three of the 14 people arrested by CBI in the case remain in jail. These are Raja, Behura and Chandolia.

Raja resigned as minister Nov 14, 2010 after the Comptroller and Auditor General reported that the faulty auction process in the allocation of second-generation telephony led to a notional loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore.

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