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2G case trial to be shifted to Tihar Jail

Judge's announcement triggers protests by A Raja,Kanimozhi and other suspects.

The ongoing trial in the 2G case has been shifted to the high-security Tihar Jail from Patiala House courts following an order by the Delhi High Court,a decision opposed by former Telecom Minister A Raja,DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused.

The short announcement of the High Court’s administrative order by Special CBI Judge O P Saini at 3.30 pm today in the packed courtroom left the accused,their relatives and lawyers unhappy as they felt Tihar would not be easily accessible.

“Accordingly,from November 24,that is,coming Thursday,the trial shall be held at the Tihar court complex,” the CBI Judge said while referring to the High Court’s order on the issue.

“I do not know what is happening in this country,” Raja,who has been in Tihar jail since February 2,said. Kanimozhi also reacted on similar lines.

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“Do we understand that no accused is going to get bail till the trial concludes,” one of the defence lawyers said,adding the decision would be challenged in the High Court.

Earlier,defence lawyers,including Mumbai-based Majid Memon,had raised the issue that the present courtroom at Patiala House here lacked the adequate space,air-conditioners and other facilities and had sought shifting the trial to a more spacious place like Vigyan Bhawan in Lutyens Zone here.

“It is true that I had said the arrangements at the Patiala House courts complex were inadequate but we had not suggested the trial be shifted to such an isolated

location at Tihar Jail,” Memon later told reporters.

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The judge had earlier received complaints that the presence of relatives of accused and the onlookers have led to paucity of space in the courtroom.

The judge,however,had refused to intervene saying the trial was open for all and also refused the plea of accused that scribes be kept out.

The defence lawyers opposed the High Court’s November 21 notification saying that shifting trial to Tihar would create a lot of inconvenience as everybody would have to get an entry pass to attend the proceedings.

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“We are contemplating a meeting with Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri for reconsideration and examine other alternatives in the Patiala House complex,” Memon said.

The announcement drew sharp reaction from an otherwise calm Kanimozhi who said shifting the trial would inconvenience lawyers.

“We engage senior lawyers,they will have to come all the way to Tihar Jail for this case. It will be a problem for them,” she said.

Raja too said the move would create problems for lawyers as they would have to rush from the Supreme Court and High Court to the Tihar Jail for the trial.

“Shifting trial to Tihar Jail would create lot of problems as we would not be able to properly have legal consultation with our counsel. Till now,the lawyers could reach Patiala House courts from the Supreme Court or the High Court within 10 to 15 minutes,but it would not be possible for them to reach Tihar as they would have to leave all other cases,” Raja said.

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All defence lawyers also took the similar plea saying it would not be possible for them to leave their other cases for attending the day-to-day trial in the matter at

Tihar.

The judge,however,said the proceedings would be held at Patiala House courts tomorrow. “The witnesses have been served with the address of Patiala House Courts and it may not be possible to communicate the change to them at this stage,” he said.

First published on: 22-11-2011 at 04:31:11 pm
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