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2G Case Judge OP Saini: From a Police Officer to a Law Enforcer

O P Saini, 63, was handpicked for the 2G trial and is known as a quiet and hard-working judge in the legal fraternity.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 21, 2017, 11:17 AM IST
2G Case Judge OP Saini: From a Police Officer to a Law Enforcer
Image for representation.

New Delhi: OP Saini, the judge who acquitted all the 17 accused in the 2G scam case, including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi, is the man in focus.

Saini, 63, was handpicked for the 2G trial and is known as a quiet and hard-working judge in the legal fraternity.

He began his career as a sub-inspector in Delhi Police in 1981. After serving for six years, he appeared for the judicial magistrate examination and was the only one who cleared the exam that year.

Saini who hails from a middle class family in Haryana was chosen for the 2G trial owing to his impeccable reputation. In 2011, after the Supreme Court stated that a special court be set up to hear 2G cases, Saini was selected as the judge.

But he was already built his reputation as a taskmaster. Saini was a judge in important cases such as the National Aluminum Company Limited (NALCO) bribery case and the Commonwealth Games scam case. Saini was the one who had incarcerated Suresh Kalmadi's key aides, Lalit Bhanot, VK Verma, KUK Reddy and others.

The other feather in his cap is the verdict in the Red Fort shootout case where he gave the death sentence to Mohammad Arif, the key accused, and life imprisonment to six others. This attack had claimed the lives of three jawans. Saini had taken up the case after the judge hearing the matter retired.

In the first year of hearing itself, everybody thought that Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, would get bail after serving five months in jail, on grounds of being a woman. But Saini dismissed her bail plea and stated that since she was a powerful politician, witnesses could get influenced if she was released from custody.

He was also not hesitant to question men in power. In 2013, he used his powers under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which is not often used, and had summoned three more accused — Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, Asim Ghosh of Hutchison Max and Ravi Ruia of Sterling Cellular.

Even when Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal had pleaded the court to be relieved as a witness owing to medical complications, Saini has refused to do so and summoned her as a witness in the case.

Even Niira Radia who was an important witness in the case was at the receiving end of the judge’s ire when she tried to evade questions. Saini has asked Radia to answer the questions as she was an "intelligent professional."

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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