Firstpost

Why Raja, 'captain of the ship', is likely to get bail now

by Pallavi Polanki May 9, 2012 18:32 IST

Why Raja, 'captain of the ship', is likely to get bail now

When former Communications Minister Andimuthu Raja, prime accused in the 2G spectrum scam, was asked a couple months ago why he was the only one who wasn't applying for bail when everybody else was, he was heard saying that he was the "captain of the ship" and was waiting for everyone else to get out first.

It looks like that day has finally come. On a day when the Supreme Court granted bail to former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, accused No 2 in the case, Raja wasted no time in moving for bail in a Delhi court on Wednesday.

With both his former aides in government – Behura and former private secretary RK Chandolia (whose bail also has been upheld by the Supreme Court), Raja's chances of being granted similar relief seem high.

Behura, like Raja, had been charged under similar sections of the Indian Penal Code-criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy, cheating-and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Relief to Behura allows Raja to now seek bail on grounds of parity.

Firstpost had reported earlier that Behura would be Raja's test case.

Special CBI judge OP Saini had last year jointly charged Raja and Behura. They "dishonestly, in pursuance to the conspiracy, disposed of/allocated valuable spectrum, over which you were having dominion, which was entrusted to you in the capacity of public servants, to Swan Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd in violation of law with a view to cause wrongful gain to these companies..".

All three-Raja, Behura and Chandolia-were arrested on 2 February 2011. Raja and Behura have spent more than 15 months in prison.

Raja bail plea will be heard on Friday. He may be a free man after that – while of course keeping himself ready for his regular court appearances.

A smart politician, Raja declined to seek bail too soon because he wanted to pose as the victim. An early release would not have suited his purpose.

On the eve of his shift to judicial custody in Tihar jail last year, a senior CBI official asked Raja if he, like other VIP undertrials, would seek to shift to a hospital under some medical pretext or the other.

Raja said, "No. I will never like to lose public sympathy. I am a politician."

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