After six months in Tihar jail and five attempts, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and four others got bail in the 2G case from the Delhi High Court on Monday.
Justice VK Shali of the high court said in his 39-page order that Kanimozhi and the four were on a "better footing" and deserved the benefit on the ground of "parity" with the five telecom executives released last week by the Supreme Court.
The court also considered the fact that she was a woman — an argument ignored so far right from the trial court to the apex court. But 43-year-old Kanimozhi, who was arrested on May 20, will have to spend one more night at Tihar, as the release formalities could not be completed on Monday.Earlier, during the investigation into the 2G scam case, the CBI alleged that Kanimozhi was the brain behind DMK-owned Kalaignar TV's move to take a R200-crore bribe from Shahid Balwa's DB Realty companies in exchange for allocation of licence to Balwa-owned Swan Telecom.
The main 2G scam accused and former telecom minister A Raja, however, is still in Tihar, as he has not applied for bail. He was arrested on February 2, 2011.
The four others who have got bail on Monday are Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, filmmaker Karim Morani and Kusegaon Fruits and vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Rajiv Aggarwal and Asif Balwa.
The court, however, reserved its order on telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura's bail plea, as the CBI opposed the move. Bail pleas of public servants required stricter scrutiny, the agency said.
As the news of Kanimozhi being granted bail broke, Karunanidhi announced a big welcome-home party for her in Chennai. "She spoke to me soon after the court gave her bail and both of us shared the happiness," he told reporters in Chennai.
The court has asked those granted bail to surrender their passports, furnish a bond of Rs 5 lakh each with two sureties of as much amount and remain present during the trial on a daily basis.
Justice Shali gave the CBI the liberty to approach the court in case any of the accused violated bail conditions. Justice Shali took the cue from the November 23 Supreme Court order granting bail to five telecom executives, saying, "Bail is rule and jail is an exception."