Cut surety amount, Jaya Jaitly tells court


New Delhi : Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitly, facing trial in a graft case linked to a purported defence deal, Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking a reduction in the amount of surety she was told to deposit ahead of her foreign visit.

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A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court May 1 allowed Jaitly to visit Singapore from May 30 to June 8 to attend a panel discussion on furnishing a surety bond of Rs.3 lakh in the form of fixed deposit receipts (FDR) while instructing her not to extend her stay in Singapore.

Challenging the trial court’s order, Jaitly sought reduction in the surety amount saying: “I am is not currently in any monetarily gainful employment and will not be able to produce a surety of Rs.3 lakh.”

The matter is likely to come up Friday for hearing before Justice Mukta Gupta.

Seeking setting aside of the order on furnishing surety of Rs.3 lakh, Jaitly submitted that she was 65 years old and was also not engaged in any monetarily gainful employment.

“For my day to day survival and expenses, I am dependent on my son who gives me an allowance of Rs.50,000 every month,” she said.

The petitioner said that even her entire savings would not amount to Rs.3 lakh. She submitted that earlier she had applied for and was duly granted permission to travel abroad as many as five times and on all occasions she deposited fixed deposit documents of Rs.25,000 as surety.

She alleged that even though her application was allowed, the court had indirectly fettered her right to travel abroad by imposing the onerous condition of Rs.3 lakh surety.

“The petitioner has never misused her liberty and privilege granted by the trial court. Therefore, the condition that a surety of Rs.3 lakh be deposited for release of her passport is wholly arbitrary and abridges the fundamental right of the petitioner to travel abroad,” said the petition.

Jaitly is facing trial for allegedly taking Rs.2 lakh as bribe in December 2000 for recommending a fictitious defence deal to the defence ministry.

The case stems out of a sting operation, ‘Operation Westend’, aired by newsportal in January 2001.

The CBI alleged that Jaitly, her former party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (retd.) S.P. Murgai accepted illegal gratification from Mathew Samuel, a person posing as a representative of company Westend International. The illegal gratification was accepted for obtaining supply orders for hand held thermal imagers from the army.

The CBI filed the charge sheet against Jaitly and two others in 2006.