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2011: When VVIPs faced trial, jail terms
January, 02nd 2012

As many high-profile politicians, hard-boiled bureaucrats and corporate czars faced trial and landed behind bars in 2011, trial courts and jails turned to be their second homes. The fag end of 2010 itself had sketched the contours of the events of 2011, which began with the CBI arresting

former telecom minister A Raja along with his former private secretary and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura on February 2 for their alleged roles in the 2G spectrum case.
As the trio were unceremoniously bundled into Tihar with Raja and Behura, yet to get bail, the year saw their alleged accomplices like DMK MP Kanimozhi and telecom tycoons Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and three top corporate honchos of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group following suit between February and May.

Around the time Raja and others were arrested in the 2G case, the CBI was making crucial arrests in the CWG case as well, beginning with close aide and OSD Shekhar Deorukh of sports baron and CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalamadi on February 11, even though some of his accomplices were already arrested in November 2010 itself.

The CBI had registered at least five different cases of corruptions in the Games-related scam but it made the most significant arrest - that of Kalmadi on April 25 and since then he has been lodged in Tihar.

The CWG scam also saw arrests of a number of government officials like KUK Reddy, Sanjay Mahindroo, M Jaychandran, TS Darbari, Lalit Bhanot and several high-profile businessmen.

The year saw crucial developments in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam. The police swung into action after the Supreme Court cracked its whips on cops' inaction in the case. The police hurriedly made some arrests and filed charge sheet in the case, leaving for the trial court to deal with the high and mighty ones among the accused.

The subsequent court proceedings saw dramatic arrests of once indomitable, former Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on trial court's order on September 6, when Singh, first through his counsel, pleaded for exemption from appearance before the court on grounds of his ill-health.

But he appeared before the court in less than two hours after making the plea for exemption and landed in Tihar. The case also saw the court sending two former and one sitting BJP MPs behind bars along with BJP stalwart LK Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni.

Owing to his failing health, Amar Singh, however, had to be rushed to AIIMS within a week after his arrest and was eventually granted bail by the high court on October 24 after nearly one and half month in custody, major part of which had to be spent in AIIMS. Grant of bail to Singh paved the way for the relief to others as well on various grounds.

Around the same time, luck smiled on 12 out of 14 2G case accused as well with the apex court granting bail.

The fag end of the year saw the CBI issuing charge sheets to Essar Group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters IP Khaitan and his wife Kiran Khaitan and Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf as accused in the case. They now face the court summons for early next year.

The year also saw the trial court giving a decent burial to nearly 25-year-old Bofors pay offs case, pointing out the futility of pursing the same at the immense cost of exchequer and in a situation when the case has hit dead ends not only in India but abroad as well due to foreign courts' refusal to extradite Italian businessman Ottavio Quatrrocchi to face trial New Delhi.

A magisterial court, however, allowed a CBI plea to extradite Union carbide erstwhile chairman Warren Anderson to face trial for his criminal culpability in the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy case, from the US.

The fag end of the year also saw the NIA issuing charge sheet to US-born terrorist David Coleman Headley, his Pakistani-cum-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana, founder of Lashker-e-Taiba terror group Hafiz Saeed, two serving Pakistani Army officers and others for plotting and executing terror strikes in India.

The year also saw a trial court judge mooting the radical ideas like castration as punishment for rape convicts and open jails for to de-congest prisons.

A trial court convicted 15 out of 98 accused in the case involving killings of an elderly Dalit and his teenaged handicapped daughter in a caste violence at Mirchpur village of Hissar in Haryana last April.

In heinous criminal cases, the year saw the trial courts awarding stringent punishment, including death penalties to five members of a family in case of "honour killing" and life sentence to four youths for killing another youth for having an affair with one of the convicts daughters.

It also sent a stern message against the malady of dowry death, sentencing an 85-year-old woman to life imprisonment along with her elder son for burning alive her younger son's wife for failing to fulfil her dowry demands.

The courts also awarded whopping compensation to accident victims, the highest being Rs 87 lakh, which was awarded to the family of a woman engineer mowed by a bus.

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