2G scam: CBI says no bail for A. Raja
The CBI on Friday called for former telecom minister A. Raja to be kept behind bars because of his outsized role in the multicrore 2G spectrum scam.
The agency told special CBI judge O.P. Saini on Friday that Raja’s greed and the alleged abuse of his position as a cabinet minister had caused misery to a lot of people.
Raja has been lodged in Tihar Jail since February 2, 2011, when he was arrested for allegedly accepting bribes in return for handing out valuable 2G spectrum to undue firms at a loss to the exchequer. The former minister is the prime accused in the case and all the other 13 accused in the case are out on bail.
Former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura was the last to have been granted bail by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, prompting Raja to move his first application seeking release.
“The responsibility on him as a minister was much more than anyone else,” CBI counsel A.K. Singh told the court, saying that Raja couldn’t ask for release on parity with the other 13 accused. “There is no parity in the case, he was in dominion. Without his actions as a minister, none others would be facing trial… I am strongly opposing this bail plea,” Singh added.
However, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta argued that Raja ought to be treated on a par with Behura and be freed after having spent 15 months in jail. “[Raja] is no longer a cabinet minister, no longer near the department [and] has spent the longest amount of time in custody. The state made an attempt [in the apex court] to distinguish the cases of the accused, because some were public servants, but the Supreme Court said it was not inclined to agree,” Gupta said.
Gupta stressed the fact that Raja should be treated like all the other accused in the case, particularly Behura, since he was also charged under similar sections.
The CBI, however, pointed out that Raja was the only one alleged to have received up to Rs.200 crore in bribe for the spectrum. “There is no allegation that in abuse of official position, he (Behura) accepted rewards. That is the big difference,” Singh said.
Raja’s relative prominence in Tamil Nadu was also a reason for the CBI’s opposition of his bail plea, with the agency claiming that he might be in a position to influence a number of witnesses who hail from that state – with recording of evidence still ongoing in the day-to-day trial.
The special court reserved its order on the bail plea, and is expected to pronounce its decision on May 15.
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