DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi's last hopes to secure bail were dashed after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected her plea against a Delhi High Court order rejecting it.
A special bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice BS Chauhan also dismissed Kalaignar TV's MD Sharad Kumar's bail application.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi will leave for New Delhi on Tuesday morning to meet her in Tihar Jail. Party sources said a visibly upset Karunanidhi had decided to call on his daughter at the prison to console her.
Dismissing their pleas, the bench, however, gave them liberty to file fresh applications after the special trial court completes the process of framing charges against all the accused named in the two chargesheets filed by the CBI in the case. The bench clarified that Kanimozhi could invoke the provision under criminal procedure code benefiting a woman undertrial when she moves the fresh plea.
The court stipulation virtually puts a bar on granting bail to the remaining accused including former telecom minister A Raja. All would have to spend a few more months in jail before applying as arguments on bail are yet to begin before the special CBI court in Patiala House.
Kanimozhi's mother Rajathi Amma immediately broke down after the SC pronounced its verdict 30 minutes after concluding the one-and-half hour long hearing. Former Union minister TR Baalu and a handful of party supporters, who appeared hopeful as justice Singhvi grilled the CBI for opposing Kanimozhi's bail, immediately escorted Rajathi to the gates.
During the hearing, the SC bench ticked off the counsel for the two accused when they claimed they were innocent and not hungry for money. "Hungry people neither take bribe nor do they come to the courts. None of them (accused) is a hungry person," the bench said.
"There are so many women in jail and all live as if they were convicts," the bench remarked when Kanimozhi's advocate contended she was in jail as if she was a convict.
The bench was not impressed when the defence drew a comparison of the case with that of IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who was recently granted bail in the sexual molestation case.
The court also fired questions at the CBI counsel and additional solicitor general AS Chandiok on why he didn't ask the agency interrogate Kanimozhi. It also asked Chandiok what prevented the agency from recovering the original documents related to the transaction of R200 crore between Kalaignar TV and DB Realty.
Balwas withdraw bail plea
Minutes after the SC dismissed Kanimozhi’s bail plea three other accused, including Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa, withdrew their pleas for similar relief from the Delhi HC.
"In view of the apex court's order granting liberty to the accused to move fresh bail plea before the special CBI court, I would not like to press the petition," said noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon seeking to withdraw Balwa's bail plea.