|New Delhi, May 20 (PTI)|
Kanimozhi, DMK MP and Karunanidhi's daughter, was today arrested and sent to Tihar jail by a Delhi court which dismissed her bail plea in the 2G spectrum scam, saying there was a possibility of witnesses being influenced considering the "magnitude" of the crime.
The 43-year-old daughter of Karunanidhi's second wife Rajathi, was shocked on hearing the order pronounced by Special CBI judge O P Saini but maintained her calm in the court.
However, tears welled up in her eyes when she was taken to the court lock-up by police personnel.
Clad in an orange salwar suit, she was later driven in a Delhi police van to Tihar prison where she will be lodged in jail no 6. Former Telecom Minister A Raja is already lodged in Tihar.
The judge also rejected the bail plea of Sharad Kumar, MD and CEO of Kalaignar TV Private Ltd, who along with Kanimozhi, faces the charge of conspiracy and bribery in accepting Rs.200 crore from D B Realty for for the channel in the spectrum scam.
"Considering the magnitude of the crime, nature and enormity of the allegations, character of evidence on record and the apprehension that the witnesses may be influenced in case the accused are released on bail, I have no hesitation in holding that both applicants/accused have failed to make out a prima facie case for bail.
"Bail applications are without merit and the same are dismissed," the court said in its 144-page order brushing aside her lawyer Ram Jethamalani's arguments that urged for chivalry for her being a woman.
One of the bodyguards of Kanimozhi started crying inconsolably when Kanimozhi was being taken inside the lock-up at Patiala House Courts here.
Kanimozhi, who was accompanied by her husband Aravindan, family members and DMK Parliamentary Party chief leader T R Baalu, first inquired about the order from A Raja as she could not hear it properly.
As Raja broke the news to her, stunned Kanimozhi tried very hard to control emotions and was being hugged by her husband before some women constables took over and led her inside the lock-up.
The court said most of the witnesses against the DMK MP are the employees of Kalaignar TV and hence, possibility of they being influenced cannot be ruled out.
"Considering the magnitude of the crime and the fact that many of the witnesses are employees of Kalaignar TV, there is every apprehension that the witnesses may be influenced, if the accused are released on bail," it said.
The court, which did not not go into the merits of the case and termed the observations as "tentative", said that there were "incriminating" evidence against her and Sharad.
"The role of both of the accused in the case is clear... magnitude of the crime is enormous. The allegations, on the face of it, are very grave.
"The supporting evidence is also there on record. The submissions, as such, with utmost respect are without merit," the court said.
The court, which had reserved its order on May 7, on the bail applications of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar has referred to various judgments of the Supreme Court to negate the arguments of noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani who appeared for the DMK leader.
The court rejected the legal argument that an accused be released on bail if she was not arrested during investigations.
"It is clear that on the appearance of an accused in court in response to summons issued by the court, his bail application is required to be disposed of on merits of the case and bail cannot be allowed as matter of right.
"As such the accused has no right to be released on bail simply because she was not arrested during investigation and appeared in the court in response to the summons.
He has to make out a case for bail on merits," it said while referring to various case laws on the issue.
Giving reasons for denial of bail, the court said some of the key witnesses against them were the employees of Kalaignar TV, alleged recipient of Rs 200 crore bribe from firms promoted by Shahid Usman Balwa and they can be influenced upon.
The court also cited the statements of prosecution witnesses G Rajendran, an employee of Kalaignar TV and Aseervatham Achary, a former aide of Raja, to refer to the culpability of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar in the 2G scam.
The judge said that both the accused were in conspiracy with each other and A Raja. They played key roles in receiving illegal gratification for their television channel in which both held 20 per cent shares each.
The court also rejected the plea of Jethmalani that Kanimozhi be released on the sole ground that she is a woman. "Sex is one of the grounds which may be considered at the time of grant of bail. However, considering the magnitude of the crime and the allegations against her, I am unable to show any consideration to her on this ground," the court said.
However, the "dignified" conduct of Kanimozhi during court proceedings earned special praise for her. "I wish, I could show her some consideration, considering her extremely dignified conduct in the court," the CBI Judge said.
CBI had chargesheeted Kanimozhi on April 25 in the scam. It had indicted her of having taken bribe to the tune of Rs 200 crore, which was routed to Kalaignar TV, in which she has 20 percent stake.
Besides Kanimozhi, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, holds 60 per cent share in the Kalaignar TV. She, however, was not chargesheeted in the case as the CBI said she neither knew English nor used to take part in the day-to-day functioning of the channel.