Jayalalithaa, others sentenced to four years in jail

5:35 PM, Saturday, September 27th, 2014


Bangalore : The court of John Michael D’Cunha imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on Jayalalithaa and Rs 10 crore on each of the other convicts. If they fail to pay the fine, they will have to serve an additional one year in jail. Jayalalithaa can’t contest elections for six years.

All the accused were convicted for offences punishable under Section 120(B) of the IPC (criminal conspiracy), 13(1) of the Prevention Corruption Act (criminal misconduct by public servants) and 109 (abetment) by special judge John Michael D’Cunha on Saturday afternoon, special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh told TOI.

The case was registered by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) of Tamil Nadu police in 1996, after the present BJP leader Subramanian Swamy moved courts and obtained necessary directions.

By listing a total of 78 properties, kilos of gold and silver, besides diamonds, personal accessories and fraudulent transactions in ghost or benami companies numbering 32, the DVAC said she and her associates had amassed wealth worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income as chief minister during 1991-96.

Jayalalithaa, Sasikalaa and Ilavarasi arrived at the court at 10.42pm while Sudhakaran (Jayalalithaa’s former foster son) had arrived earlier. Almost all ministers of Tamil Nadu cabinet, including seniors O Paneerselvam, Edappadi K Palaniswami and Natham R Viswanathan, were in attendance at the venue where the special court had been shifted to for judgment.

Though the FIR was registered in September 1996, the case dragged on for nearly 18 years, partly due to the DMK’s insistence on having the trial shifted out of Tamil Nadu and also due to umpteen petitions and appeals filed by the accused. Towards closing stages, the sheer number of questions put to the chief minister — 1,339 in all — contributed to the delay, as she had to make time to answer them in between her work as the chief minister. Jayalalithaa needed four sessions and two months to complete the formality.

From the day the apex court order staying all proceedings in the assets case in a special court in Chennai, and its ultimate transfer to a special court in Bangalore, six years were lost. But it was the methods adopted by the Chennai court which gave room to DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan to rush to the Supreme Court and obtain stay. While it was being heard by a special court in Chennai, the prosecution allowed recall of 76 prosecution witnesses whose examination and cross-examination were already over.

As feared, 64 of them turned hostile, weakening the case considerably. The prosecutor did not seek to declare them as hostile nor did he initiate perjury proceedings against them, pointed out the Supreme Court while transferring the case to Karnataka, to be heard at a special court in Bangalore. Similarly, the Chennai special court’s order dispensing with Jayalalithaa’s personal presence in court to answer court queries under Section 313 CrPC also did not go down well with the apex court.

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