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Sunday, 27 November 2011

2G scam: Supreme Court grants bail to five corporate executives

 The Supreme Court has granted bail to five corporate executives who were arrested for their alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

A surety of Rs. 5 lakh is to be given by each of the accused. The Central Bureau of Investigation can move the Supreme Court if it feels the bail is misused.

The executives - Unitech Wireless' former MD Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom's Director Vinod Goenka and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group's executives Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara - had been in jail for over seven months. They are expected to walk out of Tihar Jail later today or tomorrow, depending on when their lawyers complete the necessary paperwork.

"I most humbly thank Hon'ble Supreme Court for granting me bail. I am also deeply touched by the support extended to me from all my employees, lawyers , friends and members of the media. I reiterate that I am committed to cooperating in the trial and hope that finally justice will be done, & my innocence proved," said a statement from Mr Sanjay Chandra.

The Supreme Court's decision acted as sentiment booster for the companies these officials represented.

Stocks of DB Realty, Unitech and Reliance Communications were trading higher despite a market crash today. DB Realty has plunged 45 per cent since the arrest of Mr Goenka.

Unitech stocks have tanked nearly 50 per cent since the arrest of Mr Chandra who headed Unitech Wireless when he was arrested seven months ago. RCom stocks have fallen nearly 34 per cent since the arrest of the three executives.

This is the first instance of accused persons being granted bail in the 2G case. On December 1, the Delhi High Court is scheduled to hear the bail pleas of eight other accused, including DMK MP Kanimozhi. They have challenged the Special Court's November 3 order denying them bail. But in the wake of today's order, their lawyers have approached the High Court seeking advancement of their bail plea hearing.

The five corporate executives were arrested on April 20. On November 1, the apex court had reserved its order on their bail pleas. The CBI had opposed their bail.

The five accused had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court and trial court orders turning down their bail pleas. The accused, who have been charged under various offences under the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act, contended that they should be granted bail as the charges have already been framed and there was no chance of them tampering with the evidence.

The verdict was delivered by Justice H L Dattu who had heard their arguments along with CBI's submission opposing their bail pleas.

Other accused in the case include former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura and Raja's former private secretary R K Chandolia.

Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa and their colleague Rajeev Agarwal have also been booked in the case.

Three telecom firms - Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd - have also been named accused in the case.

All the accused have pleaded that they have not done anything wrong and refuted the charge of drawing illegal benefits in allocation of 2G spectrum.

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