CWG: Kalmadi’s bail plea deferred till Jan 9

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday deferred the bail plea of Suresh Kalmadi, the jailed member of parliament, and his key aide V.K. Verma who are key accused in a corruption case related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Justice Mukta Gupta slated the next hearing for Jan 9.

Kalmadi had moved the court for bail on the observation of the Supreme Court in the 2G case that ‘bail should be the rule and jail an exception’.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Kalmadi, Friday based his arguments on the apex court’s observation and also raised concerns about Kalmadi’s health.

Rohatgi told the high court bench that kalmadi’s medical condition is serious, and he requires to be under medical supervision. He said: ‘Petitioner has a history of replacement of heart valve and was detected to have brain stokes in the past.’

Rohatgi also submitted that Kalmadi has been in custody since April 26 and a charge sheet has already been filed. He argued that Kalmadi’s custody was no longer required in the case as the CBI Nov 3 informed the special court that the investigation is complete.

Arguing that custody of Kalmadi seems to be indefinite, Rohatgi said: ‘If I don’t get bail today at this stage, when will I get bail? At what stage? Nine months of custody is substantial custody.’

The advocate contended that the entire procedure of tender for the CWG had sanction of the central government and all the decisions were taken collectively by the board.

A trial court had earlier in June rejected Kalmadi’s bail plea, after which he approached the high court. The case relates to irregularities in awarding a Games-related contract to a Swiss firm.

Kalmadi, who headed the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, was arrested April 26 for his alleged role in awarding the contract for installing the Timing-Scoring-Result (TSR) system to Swiss Times Omega at an exorbitant cost of Rs.141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs.95 crore to the public exchequer.

Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul appearing for accused V.K. Verma asked the CBI on what basis was the investigating agency apprehending that the accused would influence witnesses or tamper with the documents.

He added: ‘There has to be some credible arguments on the part of the CBI, we have certain reputaion and it’s not that we would fly away if granted bail.’

‘The company (Swiss Times Omega) I selected is the company who enjoys high reputation in the world, and had participated in major events in the world. I have selected the best company in the world,’ said Kaul.

Verma has been charged with criminal conspiracy and cheating and for violating sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI in its first charge sheet in the case against Kalmadi and 10 others described him as prime accused and the mastermind in the case.

The accused officials and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.