Confusion and chaos reigned supreme outside the special CBI courtroom in Patiala House ahead of the verdict on the fate of home minister P Chidambaram.
Much before the courts opened, over a dozen OB vans lined up outside the complex and hundreds of TV and print journalists including those representing the foreign media descended as early as 8am to cover the story of the day.
Chidambaram and Swamy’s supporters, too, were there besides a number of people who had come out of sheer curiosity. But the crowd was surprised as the doors of special judge OP Saini’s courtroom, which normally opens at 10am, remained closed till 1:10pm when the judgment was finally delivered.
With each passing hour, the crowd swelled and soon exceeded the capacity of the small corridor outside the courtroom, making it stuffy and suffocating. There was no mobile network and TV reporters struggled to communicate with the newsroom and their inquisitive bosses.
Suspense peaked as the judge allowed into the courtroom only Swamy and his lawyer wife Roxana who accompanied him twice — at 10:15am and 12:15pm.
There was a stampede-like situation when the doors were finally opened after a wait of more than three hours. Proceedings lasted hardly a minute. Judge Saini merely uttered a sentence to Swamy —“I am dismissing your petition” — and returned to his chamber.
Regaining his composure soon, Swamy told reporters that the order will be challenged before a higher court.