The Delhi high court, which granted bail to Suresh Kalmadi, rejected the CBI’s contention that former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman was likely to influence or intimidate witnesses.
“I find no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the CBI that the mere presence of the petitioners at large would intimidate the witnesses. Further, one co-accused who was actually found influencing the prosecution witness is not the petitioner before this court,” Justice Mukta Gupta said in her order. The CBI had specifically mentioned the names of three prosecution witnesses — Sujit Panigrahi, VK Gautam and VK Saxena — who were allegedly harassed by Kalmadi.
But the high court did not accept CBI’s contention, saying these allegations of threatening the witnesses and tampering with the evidence came when the said witnesses were working under Kalmadi.
“Thereafter, there was no influence on the witnesses and they made their statements falsely before the CBI. Thus, the evidence on record that in the past, witnesses were intimidated does not prima facie shows that there is any likelihood of threat to the prosecution witnesses,” the high court said.
Kalmadi, former CWG organising committee director general and co-accused VK Verma, and nine others, including committee’s former Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, have been accused of allegedly awarding a contract to a Swiss firm to install a Timing-Scoring-Result system for the Games at an exorbitant rate, causing a loss of over R90 crore to the exchequer and the CBI alleged in its chargesheet that Kalmadi was the main accused.