A Raja, former telecom minister and prime accused in the 2G spectrum scam, got bail from a CBI special court on Tuesday and walked out after 15 months in jail.
Raja emerged from the Tihar Jail to slogan-shouting and bursting of crackers by DMK workers. The 49-year-old MP drove to his Motilal Nehru Marg home in the capital and was ushered in with an aarti amid the beating of drums and distribution of sweets.
Raja, who was forced to resign as minister in November 2010, was the first accused to be arrested in the 2G scam — India’s biggest corruption case — and the last one to apply for and get bail.
Thirteen other accused are already out of jail. "Considering the progress of the trial, period of custody (of Raja) and the fact that all other accused have been released on bail, further detention of the accused would not serve any purpose," special judge OP Saini said.
Raja was directed to furnish a personal bond of Rs 20 lakh and two sureties of the same amount, not influence anyone linked to the case and not visit the department of telecom or his home state of Tamil Nadu without the court's permission. He has to surrender his passport and be in court for all hearings.
The CBI had charged Raja with criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and corruption. He was lodged in sub-jail no. 1 at Tihar since his arrest on February 2, 2011.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi welcomed Raja's release and said he would remain in active politics. "All in the DMK support Raja," he said.
Raja's wife MA Parameswari said there would be no celebrations but a family get-together "after a very long time".
In the courtroom, Raja was erroneously thought to have got bail much before the order was passed. Even as the judge asked for Raja, someone said "allowed", prompting cheering by most. Raja too raised his hands in relief.
The error was realised, but soon after the judge declared: "Bail granted." Loud cheering and applause followed.