New Delhi: Soon after special CBI judge OP Saini read out the not-guilty verdict in the 2G spectrum scam case on Thursday, DMK MP Kanimozhi called her father and party patriarch M Karunanidhi over the phone.
"I called up my father. He was very happy. It's an emotional moment for us… Last seven years were very harrowing," Kanimozhi told CNN-News18.
Karunanidhi and his son MK Stalin were among immediate family members not present in the courtroom for the much-anticipated verdict. Kanimozhi’s support base in Delhi before the verdict included her mother Rajathi Ammal, husband G Aravindaan, half-brother Alagiri and other DMK leaders who had gathered outside the courtroom.
These DMK cadre, along with journalists, lawyers and some curious bystanders, crowded the verandah outside CBI judge OP Saini’s courtroom before the verdict.
Clad in red saree, Kanimozhi walked in around 9:40 am, accompanied by her husband and mother. A Raja followed was spotted soon after.
If the duo was nervous, their demeanor didn't reflect it. Kanimozhi accepted good wishes from people around and said "all the best" to her defence team.
Raja went around shaking hands and asking everyone, "How are you?"
Shahid Balwa, the man who was allegedly favoured by Raja in the alleged scam, appeared equally confident. He and his business partner Vinod Goenka were greeting friends, hugging them. But, Balwa's wife wasn't that confident. Chanting prayers, she only said "Insha Allah" when asked if she was hopeful of an acquittal.
At around 10:30 am, there was chaos when the accused were to be taken inside the courtroom. The POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court next door could not be accessed by Delhi Police personnel who had to appear in a case there.
Similar was the scene in the 2G court which the CBI team couldn't enter as the crowd at the doorway swelled. Judge Saini, too, had to wait as Raja had not made it inside the court when the roll call began.
Two minutes later, when confusion subsided, Saini began proceedings. “The prosecution has miserably failed to prove all charges against all the accused persons. Therefore, all the accused are acquitted of all the charges. And accused are required to submit a security bond of Rs 5 lakh each which is a requirement of Section 437-A of CrPC."
The pronouncement lead to hugs inside and rapturous scenes outside the court room. Raja hugged his lawyer Ramesh Gupta, an emotional Kanimozhi went up to her husband and mother.
A trial which went on for almost seven years was over, at least for now.