By Sumit Nagpal
Arguments in the Supreme Court continued before the bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice H L Dattu on the bail applications filed by five corporates Sanjay Chandra, Vinod Goenka, Hari Nair, Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara who all are accused in 2G scam.
Starting his arguments for Sanjay Chandra, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani tore apart the judgment of the lower court and the High Court which denied bail to his client in this case. Jethmalani argued that the principles on which the magistrate grants the bail are different from that principles on which the High Courts and the Supreme Court grants bail. ''...The only test is to see if the accused is likely to abuse the process of law or not. The trial court denied bail to my client but no where has the trial court said that the accused tried to temper with the evidence. The trial court said that few of the witnesses are emplyees of my client. But the investigation is over now! How can he influence any witness now?...'' argued Jethmalani.
In an attempt to demolish the prosecution case, Jethmalani argued that a conspiracy can only be proved in two ways; one, with the help of the approver and two, with the help of circumstancial evidence. ''...But no facts of cheating have been put on paper. The chargesheet if totally silent on ingredients on cheating. Cheating could have been attributed to me if I has misrepresented some facts. Where are they? Whom did I cheat? And if there is no prima facie case against my client, the bail is a must for my client...'' said Jethmalani.
Jethmalani also stressed that if there is no apprehension of absconding or abuse of process of law then bail must be granted in such cases. ''...Its not that I entered into conspiracy with someone to cause loss to the government, I am a businessman and I am entitled to take benefit of government policy. Was I expected to go and tell the government what kind of fools are you? This policy will result in loss to the government. The loss means wrongful loss. Which is the law that I have broken?..''
Continuing from where Jethmalani left, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi started his arguments for Vivek Goenka. Rohtagi accused CBI of desperately trying to frame in a harsher section 409 of IPC which attracts a sentence of life imprisonment. Rohtagi argued that when his client tried to get bail according to section 437 CrPC, the CBI moved an application to charge the accused with 409. (Note: 437 states that in offences which carry a punishment of less than 7 years, bail is a must.)
Rohtagi also attacked the lower court for not granting the bail to the accused despite CBI not opposing the bail applications of the accused. ''...What kind of a case is this? Is it the prosecution which arrests the people or is it the court which arrest the people. Now the order has been reserved? The chargesheet says, summon and try the accused. If the CBI doesnot arrest, under which jurisprudence have they been arrested...''
Starting his arguments for Hari Nair and Surender Pipara, Senior Advocate and the former attorney genetal Ashok Desai argued that it is the right of every citizen to get bail. Ours is a case based on documents which are in the custody of CBI, we can't tamper with the evidence.
''...We have been charged with cheating but the question is whom? Who have we cheated? My client Pipara's medical condition is bad. Please release him on bail...'' argued Desai.
Arguing for Gautam Doshi, former solicitor general Soli Sorabjee said, the judge denied bail to us saying that there is no guarantee that we shall not tamper with the evidence in future but by this argument, no one can be granted bail in any case.
The Counsel for CBI, Harin Raval however tried to counter the arguments of the defence by saying that it would be wrong to suggest that there is no evidence against the accused. Rather, the court has framed charges against all the accused and this clearly means that there is prima facie evidence against the accused.
At this point, Justice Singhvi asked the CBI if this is true that CBI did not oppose the bail plea of five of the accused in lower court? The court has asked Raval to respond on Tuesday at 3.50 pm.
Justice Dattu also asked the CBI that if they do not wish to oppose the bail applications of the accused then what happens to the economic fabric theory projected before the court.
The matter shall continue on Tuesday at 3.50 pm.