India's former telecoms minister A. Raja, who faces trial over a massive corruption case involving mobile telephone licences, was granted bail Tuesday after 15 months in prison.
Raja was arrested in February 2011 for allegedly conspiring with officials and businessmen to sell second-generation (2G) telecom licences at throwaway prices in 2008 to favour some firms, costing the treasury up to $39 billion.
The allegations are among a series of graft scandals that have damaged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been widely criticised for ineffective leadership as India struggles with worsening economic data.
A New Delhi court granted Raja bail despite opposition from prosecutors who argued that he could try to influence witnesses who may be called in his trial.
Raja is a member of the regional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, part of Singh's Congress-led national coalition, and court officials said his bail conditions banned him from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the DMK's base.
More than a dozen people are on trial on corruption charges at a special court in New Delhi.
Another key accused, Kanimozhi, who uses one name and also belongs to the DMK, was freed on bail last November, six months after she was arrested over the scandal.
Both Raja and Kanimozhi have denied any wrongdoing.
Corruption has become a hot political issue in India due to a string of high-profile scandals including contracts awarded for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Among the firms affected by the cancellation of 122 mobile phone licences in the so-called "2G scam" was Norwegian telecom giant Telenor which spent billions of dollars to enter the world's second-largest market by subscribers.
Other companies included Gulf-based Etisalat and Russia's Sistema JSFC.