A special CBI court Tuesday granted bail to Swan Telecom promoter and 2G case accused Shahid Balwa, citing the "principle of parity" a day after five co-accused were given bail by the Delhi High Court. The bail plea of R.K. Chandolia, ex-aide of former telecom minister A. Raja, was kept pending for Wednesday.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini said Balwa is being ordered released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs.5 lakh with two sureties for the like amount.
"Since as many as 10 co-accused have been admitted to bail by the Supreme Court as well as by the high court, and charges against the accused Vinod Goenka (who was given bail by the apex court) and accused Shahid Balwa are almost identical, following the principle of parity I am inclined to admit him bail," said Judge Saini.
"He is accordingly admitted to bail on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.5 lakh with two sureties in the like amount," the court said.
The CBI arrested the Mumbai-based realty promoter Feb 8 and he has been lodged in Tihar Jail here since then.
"If the accused directly or indirectly makes any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him to disclose such facts as may be necessary to the court or to any other authority, the CBI would have the liberty to make an appropriate application for recalling of the order passed by this court," the court said in a three-page order.
"He shall remain present before this court on all dates fixed for hearing of the case," said the court, directing him to surrender his passport.
The court kept the bail application of Chandolia pending for Wednesday. The decision left his wife and two daughters, present in the courtroom, in tears.
In contrast, the grant of bail to Balwa saw his family members jump in joy and greet each other, with broad smiles on their faces.
His father said that he will be leaving for the Haj pilgrimage Saturday. "I will leave for Haj, whereas my sons Shahid and Asif Balwa (who got bail from the high court Monday) will go to Mumbai for four days," said Shahid's father.
The co-accused, who were given bail earlier, were also asked to surrender their passports to the trial court and not to leave the country without its permission and to attend the court everyday.
Balwa is facing trial in the 2G case for allegedly procuring spectrum licence for his ineligible firm under a criminal conspiracy with Raja and other government officials and by paying a bribe of Rs.200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV, showing the transaction as an inter-corporate loan.
Earlier in the day, the CBI told the special judge that it would not oppose Balwa's bail plea keeping in view the the Supreme Court and high court orders on bail to other co-accused.
"As an officer of this court, considering the umbrella charges with individual charges framed against the accused, we are not opposing the bail plea at this juncture in view of the Supreme Court and high court orders," said Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit.
Shahid Balwa, along with other accused, was booked under penal provisions related to criminal conspiracy read with criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery. He was also booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court framed additional charges against him under penal provisions for giving false evidence and criminal conspiracy for creating false documents to show as loan transaction the Rs.200 crore allegedly paid to the DMK-run Kalaignar TV.
Balwa and Chandolia moved their bail pleas on the ground of parity with other accused who got bail in the Supreme Court Nov 23. The apex court granted bail to five corporate executives - Unitech`s Sanjay Chandra, Swan's Vinod Goenka and Reliance Group's Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.
The high court Monday granted bail to DMK MP Kanimozhi, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Films' Karim Morani and Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd. directors Rajiv B. Aggarwal and Asif Balwa.
The high court will Dec 1 resume hearing on the bail plea of former telecom secretary
Siddharth Behura, whose plea was strongly opposed by the CBI.
Now, only three of the 14 individuals arrested by CBI in the case remain in jail. These are Raja, Behura and Chandolia.