New Delhi: Former communications minister A. Raja,
who has been in jail since February 2011, was Tuesday granted bail
in the 2G spectrum allocation case but with the rider that he
could neither visit the department of telecommunications (DoT) nor
his home state Tamil Nadu.
Raja, the last of the 14 individuals charged in the case still in
prison, was given bail by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
special judge O.P. Saini.
"Considering the progress of the trial, period of custody of the
accused and the fact that all other accused have been released on
bail, I am of the opinion that further detention of the accused
would not serve any purpose and, for these reasons, I am inclined
to grant applicant (Raja) bail," the judge said.
He also directed that Raja could not visit the department of
telecommunications or Tamil Nadu without the court's prior
The announcement that Raja, who has been behind bars in the
capital's Tihar Jail, was granted bail triggered wild slogan
shouting and cheering by his DMK supporters, mainly from Tamil
Nadu, who raised slogans in Tamil like: "Raja, vazhga!" (long live
The DMK also expressed confidence that he would come out clean.
Besides the 14 individuals, three companies were also charged in
the case related to 2G spectrum licences allocated during his
tenure as communications minister.
"We are happy. Getting bail is part of the legal process. We are
confident that Raja will come out clean in the whole episode," DMK
spokesperson T.K.S. Elangovan told IANS.
Giving details of what had transpired, Raja's counsel told
reporters that the judge called Raja towards him and told him:
"Your bail application is allowed."
"Raja had not moved bail until all other 13 were granted bail," he
added. "Now all the accused are on bail. The case will go on."
The counsel pointed out that Raja had got bail despite the CBI's
The CBI had opposed Raja's bail application, saying he faced
charges of accepting bribes of Rs.200 crore, which makes his case
different from former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, who was
granted bail by the Supreme Court last week.
Raja, in his bail application, has requested the court to release
him on the ground of parity.
The agency said that important prosecution witnesses of department
of telecommunications and other private people, especially
connected to alleged bribe transaction of Rs.200 crore from DB
Group companies to Kalaignar TV, are yet to be examined.
It told the court that if the accused was released on bail at this
crucial stage of trial, then he may influence the vital witnesses
as some of them belong to Tamil Nadu.
Raja resigned as minister Nov 14, 2010 in the wake of the
Comptroller and Auditor General reporting that his 2008 decision
to allocate 2G spectrum on a first-come-first-served basis had
caused the exchequer a presumptive loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore. The
CBI arrested him Feb 2, 2011.
The Supreme Court in February cancelled 122 spectrum licences
allocated during Raja's tenure. It also ruled that all natural
resources should be allocated through an auction, which the
government is now preparing to do in the case of the cancelled