Raja comes out in style

Accused in the 2G spectrum sale case, the former telecom minister A Raja finally heaved a sigh of relief after he was granted bail by the special judge O P Saini on Tuesday afternoon. His release brought smile to the faces of his political colleagues and family.

The Union law minister Salman Khurshid said, 'Raja applied for bail, and he got it. It shows that the judicial system in our country is functioning and the trial will go on.' While his colleague in the Congress Rashid Alvi said, 'We would not inetrefere in the process of the law or any judgement taken by the cout. In fact we respect the decision which the court has passed.'

Earlier, waiting for her husband outside the court, the former minister's wife M A Parameswari recited prayers under her breath as the judge began reading out his order. Parmesweri had tears in her eyes after the order. 'We are very happy... The family will get together. But, a long battle lies ahead,' she said, referring to the trial.

Early in the morning, when the court proceedings had just started, Raja was seen joking with the Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidjhi, Kanimozhi, in the court room. Raja had said that he did not expect a favorable verdict, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had opposed his bail. A loud cheer went up among nearly 200 supporters of Raja, as the order was read out. Dressed in a white shirt and grey trousers, Raja then blew kisses to his supporters.

However, the freedom came for Raja with conditions. He is not allowed to visit the telecom ministry and Tamil Nadu without the court's permission. He has been asked to surrender his passport to the court.

The bail was granted to Raja at about 4 pm on Tuesday, after which he was taken to Tihar Jail. After completing the formalities, he left the jail at about 7.05 pm. 'He picked up his books and other important things, which he used in the prison. It took him about two hours to pack his bag and say adieu to his fellow inmates, with whom he had built up a connection,' a Tihar official said. In over a year, the Tihar Jail officials said, this is the first time that Ward 9 wore a deserted look. The bigwigs involved in the 2G scam and the Commonwealth Games scam were lodged in this ward.

He made his way out of the jail in a luxury car, which had a Paraliament sticker on it. After going a few meters away from the media gathering, he pushed himself out from the window of his car and waved at his supporters.

The Tihar officials said that inmates are thankful to Raja for introducing idli in the jail menu. 'Because of him we introduced idli-sambhar in the menu, and now it has become one of most demanded eatery in the jail,' the sources said.

The special judge rejected the CBI's argument that Raja could try to influence witnesses to tamper with evidence. 'The case is going on for more than a year, and no such incident has been brought to my notice,' the judge said. 'I a'm of the opinion that further detention of the accused would not serve any purpose,' he added while allowing Raja's bail application.
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