Tihar jail to turn corporate guest-house

Five corporate honchos are going to be the new occupants of Delhi’s Tihar Jail. With the Special Court hearing the cases related to the scam in the allotment of the 2G spectrum rejecting the bail pleas of the corporate bigwigs, the five could be spending their time in the capital’s central jail.

The corporate executives are Swan Telecom Director, Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd’s Managing Director, Sanjay Chandra, and three top officials of Reliance ADA Group Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

“All bail applications have been rejected,” O P Saini, Special CBI Judge said.
Justice Saini was so strict that he didn’t consider the bail plea of ailing Surendra Pipara even though Special Public Prosecutor U U Lalit had not opposed his bail application.

The court had asked the corporate honchos to remain present during the proceedings today.

The Court however has agreed to listen post lunch to a fervent plea by Vivek Goenka’s counsel to grant his client an interim bail for seven days to manage his widespread business in his absence.

In the first chargesheet presented by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 2G scandal last month these five business bosses have been named and the investigative agency had sought their arrest.

In the last hearing on April 15, the CBI Special Prosecutor U U Lalit had contended that “considering the matter on record, complicity of the present accused in the crime is clearly made out. The act complained of and offences alleged are serious, having made deep inroads in public interest and financial affairs of the state”.

Lalit also argued that “the accused are holding high positions and now that the names of witnesses are disclosed, some of whom are directly working under/or amenable to their directions, the possibility of winning over and/or influencing the witnesses is clearly there”.

On the other hand the accused lawyers K T S Tulsi, Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar had countered that the accuseds’ arrest was not required during the probe, to jail now would amount to “travesty of justice” and was an “astounding proposition” of law.

CBI has charged the former Indian Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja, three telecom firms and six business executives for manipulating the grant of 2G telecom licences and radio airwaves in 2007-08. Comptroller and Auditor General of India had estimated that the arbitrary allotment of the spectrum might have cost the exchequer a revenue loss of of $39 billion to the government.