Karela Fry

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The normal course of law

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Suresh Kalmadi’s arrest was always just a bit of theatre. The investigators had nothing against him, and it is not clear that any agency is building a serious case against him on charges of corruption during the run-up to the Delhi commonwealth games. He spent his days in Tihar Jail famously at tea parties with samosas and chocolate cake, but told the court that he suffers from dementia when under interrogation.

IE reported yesterday on the Delhi high court’s decision to release Kalmadi on bail:

“Prima facie a case for offence under Section 467 IPC (forgery) is made out, the punishment prescribed for which is upto life imprisonment. Thus the accusations against the petitioners are serious in nature. However, the evidence to prove accusations is primarily documentary in nature, besides a few material witnesses. As held in Sanjay Chandra’s case, if seriousness of the offence on the basis of punishment provided is the only criteria, the courts would not be balancing the constitutional rights but rather recalibrating the scales of justice,” said Justice Mukta Gupta.

The court also rejected the CBI’s argument that the accused should not be granted bail as witnesses would be intimidated. “The evidence on record that in the past witnesses were intimidated does not prima facie show that there is any likelihood of threat to the prosecution witnesses. I find no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the CBI that the mere presence of the petitioners at large would intimidate the witnesses,” said Justice Gupta. While allowing their plea for bail which cited the Supreme Court’s judgement in the 2G case wherein it held that “bail is rule and jail is exception”, Justice Gupta said: “Though the learned trial court has directed that the trial be conducted on day-to-day basis, however, in the main chargesheet itself 49 witnesses have been cited. Thereafter, further witnesses have been cited in the two supplementary chargesheets. Thus, the trial is likely to take time.”

Contrary to indignant voices on talk shows, I think this is a good thing to have happened. Kalmadi safely in jail without trial lets the government off the hook. It is free to scuttle investigations if it so wishes. With Kalmadi out, taking charge of the Olympics Association and campaigning for the Congress in Pune elections, he will continue to be in public eye and a constant irritant to the government. The likelihood of his prosecution increases the more visible he is.

More importantly, it is not enough for accused to be in jail. It is important that investigating agencies actually build cases and bring the corrupt to court with evidence so that they can be prosecuted. In Bihar this now leads to at least partial recovery of the embezzled money.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

January 20, 2012 at 4:13 am

One Response

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  1. […] during the Delhi Commonwealth games. We expected heads to roll, instead we read of parties inside a jail with samosas and chocolate cake being served to Suresh Kalmadi, the jailed-without-charge president of IOA. Now that this Joker and […]

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