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The legal road ahead for Kanimozhi

May 20, 2011 15:25 IST

The daughter of outgoing Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi faces a tough legal battle and getting out of jail will be a tough task, says Vicky Nanjappa.

For the Central Bureau of Investigation, the first hurdle has been crossed in the Kanimozhi case. With the Special CBI court rejecting her bail plea, the interrogation of Kanimozhi will now commence and the CBI will be inching towards a closure in the case.

A CBI source said that they are aware that she will explore all other legal options, but the CBI is prepared with a strong case on hand. She has been named as a co-conspirator in the 2G scam case and after the rejection of her bail plea, she has been taken into custody by the CBI.

For the CBI it will now have certain key facts to establish through her interrogation -- the bribe of Rs 200 crore, her association with A Raja in this case and also the death of Sadiq Batcha. The CBI has not given out any specific time they would need to interrogate her. Taking into consideration the gravity and the magnitude of the case, it may require at least 20 to 25 sittings. More importantly considering the profile of the accused persons, it is important that such people stay behind bars. Their reach is far and they could tamper with evidence or even scare witnesses, say CBI sources.

The road ahead for Kanimozhi is not going to be easy. She has two sets of appeals in her kitty and it is up to her legal team to explore these options. First and foremost she could move the high court and seek bail. However in the case of such high profile accused, they normally go to the Supreme Court directly, another option which is available after the high court option is exhausted. However in all likelihood, she may approach the high court since she would not want to exhaust a legal option without even exploring it.

The judgments in such cases is also something that will not go in her favour. Since the foundation of this case lies in the Prevention of Corruption Act, it is highly unlikely that any court would disagree with the order of the Special CBI court. The accused will apart from seeking bail will also seek a stay on the proceedings against her.

However there are judgments which clearly state that no interference shall be there on part of the judicial system when a matter is under investigation. Take a look at Section 19(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It makes it clear that here shall be no stay on proceedings during investigation unless there are extraneous circumstances. Bail could be a possibility if she is able to prove that she is being wrongly harassed. Even if bail is granted it would be based on heavy conditions such as not tampering with witnesses and also not to leave the jurisdictional police station limits.

However the argument that will be advanced by the CBI is that they have not acted in haste and they have a strong case. There was ample time given before the arrest was carried out. The case has been built up step by step and only once they were sure did they reveal the name of the accused or even connect her with the case.

In addition to this, the CBI will also argue that it is very important that she remains in custody since they would need her for interrogation. In addition to this, there is a chance of her absconding/tampering with evidence or even destroying it if she is let out on bail considering that she is a high profile accused in the case.

Vicky Nanjappa