Yesterday, Special CBI Judge O P Saini who is hearing the case at the Patiala House courts complex announced that the trial venue of the case was to be shifted as per a High Court notification he had received. This had come as a big surprise to the accused and their lawyers, who said they had decided to approach the High Court against the move.
Today, the seven-judge administrative committee headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri said that the court's administrative notification to shift the trial would not come into effect and that the hearing would continue in the Patiala House court complex till an alternative arrangement was made.
A group of High Court judges, lawyers and the Judge-in-charge of the Patiala House courts will inspect the lower court premises again to explore the possibility of shifting the trial to a more spacious courtroom inside the court complex itself, the committee said.
"If such arrangements do not work out, then the committee may also consider to shift the trial to nearby places such as Vigyan Bhawan and Pragati Maidan in the vicinity," one of the lawyers, who was part of the in-chamber hearing on the issue, said outside the courtroom.
The Sessions Judge, the Judge in-charge of the Patiala House Courts, Special CBI Judge O P Saini and the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court will be part of the group.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 9 (6) of the CrPC 1973, the acting Chief Justice and judges of this court (Delhi High Court) have been pleased to order that the trial of the 2G spectrum cases shall be held in Tihar court complex, New Delhi, according to law," read the notification issued by the high court.
The notification had triggered protests by former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused, who contended that the move was bereft of valid reasons.
Raja said, "I do not know what is happening in this country."
The defence counsel opposed the notification, saying if the trial was shifted to the Tihar Jail, it would create a lot of inconvenience as everybody would have to get an entry pass to Tihar Jail before attending the proceedings.
"This is a completely illegal order. It has to be with the consent of the prosecution and the accused. Nobody has been consulted," said Sushil Kumar, former telecom minister A Raja's lawyer.
Mr Raja was arrested in February this year; the CBI is handling the case against him and 13 others accused of criminal conspiracy. The Supreme Court is monitoring the CBI's investigation; a special court headed by Judge OP Saini is handling the trial.
(With PTI inputs)