CWG scam: HC notice to CBI on Kalmadi bail plea

New Delhi:The Delhi High Court today sought the CBI`s response on the bail plea of sacked CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi in a Games-related scam case, who cited the Supreme Court ruling that bail should be the rule and jail an exception. Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice to the probe agency and sought its reply on Kalmadi`s bail plea by January 6.

Kalmadi`s counsel sought bail, claiming that his custody is no more required in the case as the CBI on November 3 has informed the trial court that investigation is complete. Senior counsel Sushil Kumar, appearing for Kalmadi, said that his client is in custody since April 26 and charge sheet has also been filed. He said the trial would take a long time as a foreign firm, Swiss Timing Omega, is also an accused in the case and it has not yet appeared before the court.

The counsel sought that the court hear the bail plea in December, saying it need not go into the merits of the case basing on the Supreme Court ruling, while granting bail to five accused in the 2G case, that bail is the rule and jail is an exception. However, Justice Gupta, said, "Merits of each case have to be looked into" and fixed January 6 as the next date of hearing.

Kalmadi was arrested on 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. CBI had filed its first charge sheet against Kalmadi and ten others on May 20, describing him as main accused in the corruption case, involving the award of TSR system contract to the Swiss firm.

The trial court had on June 6 dismissed Kalmadi`s bail plea on the ground that gravity of offence is of very serious nature as it had caused loss to state exchequer and unlawful gain to a private vendor to the tune of over Rs 95 crores. Kalmadi and eight other accused persons including officials of Organising Committee (OC) are lodged in Tihar Jail and are currently in judicial custody. The special CBI judge had also said that the accused might try to influence witnesses if enlarged on bail.

"Kalmadi is an influential person who was exercising full control over the OC as its chairman and most of the witnesses are his appointees or the employees of the CWG OC," the trial court had said.
Earlier, the CBI had opposed Kalmadi`s bail plea before the trial court, saying his "conduct (in resorting to corruption in holding the 2010 mega sporting event) has tarnished the country`s image".

The agency had argued that Kalmadi, as the head of the OC, had "supreme and overriding powers" and "any official of OC, who dared to protest against his illegal activities, was threatened, harassed and removed from their position or were forced to leave".