As demanded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the government will soon set up a special court which will have the jurisdiction to prosecute the disgraced Satyam Computers founder B Ramalinga Raju and five others for money laundering.
Attorney general GE Vahanvati has given his nod to the ED proposal for shifting the two-year-old trial from a chief metropolitan magistrate's court in Hyderabad to a designated sessions court, HT has learnt.Vahanvati is understood to have endorsed the opinion given last December by his colleague and additional solicitor general Vivek Tankha that in case the trial proceeds in the same court, the accused are likely to get the benefit of a "mis-trial."
HT had first reported on Thursday about the serious differences between the ED and CBI on the issue.
The CBI had last year filed a voluminous 10,000-page chargesheet in a Hyderabad chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) court.
The ED had objected to the development saying the CMM court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, which included money laundering offence as well.
"It would have been alright to proceed with the trial in this court had the accused not been booked for money laundering and their properties not attached," the ED informed the finance ministry.
"The Section 44 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (MLA), 2002, clearly states that the scheduled offence can only be tried in a special court constituted specifically for the offence," the ED had pointed out.
The finance ministry agreed with the ED and wrote to the law ministry that it would be difficult for the government to retain the confiscated properties of the accused, if the trial was not conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
The CBI, however, overlooked the ED objection and decided to proceed with the case in the CMM court.
Sources said it proposed to give this special court powers similar to the court tried the Harshad Mehta scandal in 1992.
All offences allegedly committed by Raju and co-accused at home and abroad will be tried in the special court.