Suresh Kalmadi on Thursday walked out of Tihar Jail after being lodged there for nearly nine months with the Delhi High Court granting bail to him in a 2010 Games-related graft case. 67-year-old Kalmadi, who was arrested on April 25 last year, left through Jail No.4 in the evening without talking to the media hours after the High Court granted him bail.
Justice Mukta Gupta, who also granted bail to OC former director general and co-accused V K Verma, relied upon the judgement of the Supreme Court in the 2G scam case.
“Though the trial court has directed that the trial be conducted on day to day basis, however, in the main charge sheet itself 49 witnesses have been cited. Thereafter, further witnesses have been cited in the two supplementary charge sheets. Thus, the trial is likely to take time,” the court, in its 18-page order, said.
Citing Supreme Court’s judgment in 2G case, Justice Gupta said bail is rule and jail is exception and moreover, there was no allegation that the accused threatened the witnesses.
“There is no allegation of money trail to the petitioners. There is also no evidence that the petitioner is threatening witnesses or interfering with evidence during investigation or trial,” the court said.
Kalmadi had moved the High Court in January for bail citing the Supreme Court judgment in 2G case.
Justice Gupta, who asked Kalmadi and Verma to furnish a personal and two sureties of 5 lakh each, rejected the plea of CBI that if released, the accused would influence witnesses.
“I find no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for CBI the mere presence of petitioners (Kalmadi, Verma) at large would intimidate the witnesses,” the court said.
Kalmadi was arrested on April 25, 2011 while Verma was arrested on February 23, 2011 in the Timing, Scoring and Result system scam which allegedly caused a loss of Rs 90 crore to the state.
Justice Gupta asked Kalmadi, an MP from Pune and Verma not to leave the country without prior permission of the court.
Dealing with the charges against the accused, the court said the allegation of favouring Swiss Timing by awarding the contract would be decided during the trial.
“The allegations against the petitioners are of having committed economic offences which have resulted in loss to the State Exchequer by adopting the policy of single vendor and ensuring that the contract is awarded only to STL. Whether it was a case of exercise of discretion for ensuring the best quality or a case of culpability will be decided during the course of trial. There is no allegation of money trail to the petitioners,” it said.
The court also said that there was no allegation that the accused may flee or avoid trial if released on bail.
“Petitioner Kalmadi has been in custody for over eight months and petitioner V K Verma for ten months. There is no allegation that they are likely to flee from justice and will not be available for the trial,” it said.
It also said there was no evidence that witnesses have been threatened.
“There is no evidence of the petitioners threatening the witnesses or interfering with evidence during investigation or trial. There is no allegation that any other FIR has been registered against the petitioners,” it said.
Besides Kalmadi and Verma, other accused are OC former Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, OC Director General (Procurement) Surjit Lal, Joint Director General (Sports) A S V Prasad, Treasurer M Jayachandran, Managing Director A K Reddy of Hyderabad-based AKR Constructions and promoters A K Madan and P D Arya of a Faridabad-based Gem International.
Two companies AKR Constructions and Swiss Timing are also accused in the case.