Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

2G accused and bail

There is a campaign in the media that 2G accused should get bail. I see a lobbyist behind it.

Radia tapes revealed a lobbyist connected to politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and journalists. In an Anil Ambani versus Mukesh Ambani case when the judgment went in favour of Anil Ambani she asked Vir Sanghvi to write an article attacking the judge. Barkha Dutt was ready to do her bidding.

The campaign began with Jaswant Singh appearing on CNN-IBN and saying the 2G accused should get bail. TV discussions followed. Ex-CJI Vishwanath Khare and Ex-SG Harish Salve sent unsolicited legal opinions to CBI. On 6/7/2011 the Supreme Court told CBI lawyer K. K. Venugopal “Don’t take these legal opinions into consideration. You reject them outright.”

The issue was discussed on the Big Fight on NDTV 24×7 on 9/7/2011. Jaswant Singh said the 2G accused should get bail and spoke of the tyranny of police officers who put people in jail without procedure. As expected DMK’s TKS Elangovan and Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer for an accused, wanted the 2G accused to get bail. Tavleen Singh who has written against politicians for many years wanted bail for the 2G accused.

Jaswant Singh is a BJP member and spoke in his individual capacity. DMK is not an ally of BJP. Previously he did not talk about the tyranny people suffer.

Mukul Rohatgi talked about lynch mob and media hysteria. If people want the corrupt punished they do not become lynch mob. If media reports events, that is not hysteria. If people who thought themselves powerful enough not to be in jail could not get bail because of the gravity of the charges judges refused them bail they should not blame people and media. If the chargesheet is 80,000 pages long and the supplementary chargesheet is 25,000 pages long don’t blame CBI and prosecutor but blame the partners in crime. He asked what happens if someone is acquitted after some years in jail. Who will compensate for it? If someone is acquitted it does not mean he/she was not guilty. It may be the prosecution failed to prove the case or judge declared not guilty due to corruption or some other reason. In Priyadarshini Matto case in lower court the judge told the criminal I know you have committed the crime but I let you off.

Tavleen Singh talked of governance coming to a standstill because ministers and bureaucrats are afraid to take decisions due to 2G accused not getting bail. She said 70% prisoners are undertrials without bail and blamed judges for delay in judgments and said it would take 300 years to clear the backlog. It is not governance that has come to a standstill but corruption. If a minister is afraid to award a contract because asking for 15% commission may put him in jail so be it. Judges are to be blamed for condoning delaying in filing appeals and admitting appeals long after the appeal period has expired and granting adjournments that prolong the cases. However criminals who do not plead guilty and lawyers who defend criminals are also to be blamed for delay in judgments.

Tavleen Singh said the accused can influence witnesses from jail also. A. A. Khan countered it saying if the accused are in jail witnesses are not in awe of them. They think if the accused are in jail they are not powerful.

The demand for bail for 2G accused is not about justice and fair play. It is not about employees of telecom companies who are in jail. It is not even about A. Raja. It is about Kanimozhi. Since Kanimozhi could not get bail the campaign started. I suppose the lobbyist tried to influence judges but did not succeed. As in Ambani case the judges are targeted. Jaswant Singh and Tavleen Singh cannot convince people about bail for 2G accused. It made sense for the lobbyist to Jaswant Singh to speak about bail because any UPA MP speaking that would not have carried conviction and would have been brushed aside as defending a colleague. It is another matter that Jaswant Singh is also not effective. People found Tavleen Singh on government side when she participated in a debate on Lokpal Bill on Headlines Today. If Jaswant Singh and Tavleen Singh want to lose their credibility it is their choice.

BJP has demanded resignation of P. Chidambaram for his role in 2G scam and wants him in jail alongside A. Raja. There is a controversy about the shareholding pattern of loop as corporate affairs ministry claimed clerical error. Kapil Sibal is accused of reducing fine on Reliance from 650 crore rupees to five crore rupees.

JPC on 2G scam functions in secrecy. Its members publicly say they cannot give details of meetings or answer some questions but privately they leak information to TV channels and newspapers. JPC proceedings should be televised live. The country has a right to know what happens there.

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