Twist in Kanimozhi case as judges opt out
NEW DELHI: On a day when the CBI opposed in the Supreme Court the bail pleas of DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar, both accused in the 2G spectrum scam, two judges who were to hear the plea, Justices P Sathasivam and A K Patnaik, recused themselves.
The reason for the judges’ recusal is unknown.
Chief Justice S H Kapadia constituted a special Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and B S Chauhan to hear the plea, according to sources in the apex court. Interestingly, it was Justice Singhvi who heard 2G spectrum allocation cases from the beginning, and he has been monitoring their progress since. It is also the only case Justices Singhvi and Chauhan will be hearing on Monday.
In its reply to the Special Leave Petition filed in the apex court by Kanimozhi and Kumar — who are accused of accepting Rs 200 crore in the name of Kalaignar TV as a “reward for undue favours” bestowed upon Swan Telecom by former Telecom Minister A Raja — the CBI expressed apprehension that if let off on bail, they may influence witnesses and tamper with evidence. The investigative agency also said it would not be proper for the apex court to grant bail at this stage as the probe in the case is at an advanced stage. Quoting the orders of the Special Court and High Court, the CBI pointed out that both the lower courts had dismissed the bail applications after carefully weighing the pros and cons and the evidence on record. V G Pragasam, counsel appearing for Kanimozhi and Kumar, said the CBI was reiterating the same arguments put forth before the High Court and Special Court.
On June 13, the apex court had issued notices to CBI, asking why bail should not be granted, and asked the probe agency to file its replies to both bail applications by June 20, the next date of the hearing. The Supreme Court also sought to know from the agency, details of the transaction of Rs 200 crore given to Kalaignar TV, in which both Kanimozhi and Kumar have a 20 per cent stake each, and where the amount had vanished.