Karnataka govt moves SC against Jaya’s acquittal

Rajat Kain

supreme_courtCongress party-ruled Karnataka government has moved the Supreme Court appealing against the acquittal of sitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha in disproportionate assets case. The High Court had acquitted Ms Jayalalitha earlier on 11th May in a two decade old case where the politician faced corruption and unaccountable wealth charges.

In its appeal, the Karnataka government has contended that the “High Court order was farce and illegal and her acquittal has resulted in the miscarriage of justice”.

The state government while claiming that the “evidence was not considered properly by the honourable High Court” has also sought the stay of the order with immediate effect and impose disqualification on Jayalalitha for she is holding a public office.

The plea, however, may not be taken up immediately.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court bench of Justice Kumaraswamy. While passing the judgement of her acquittal, the High Court had reasoned that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy on the part of accused.

“The prosecution has mixed up the assets of accused, firms and companies and also added the cost of construction i.e., Rs. 27,79,88,945 and marriage expenses at Rs.6,45,04,222/- and valued the assets at Rs. 66,44,73,573,” the High Court had noted in a judgement.

It was a big relief for 67-year old AIADMK chief, who had to step down as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister after being held guilty of amassing disproportionate assets by the trial court in September 2014. After the High Court’s decision, J. Jayalalithaa had returned as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Post her conviction last year, she had stepped down from the top office. While the case was pending in the Karnataka High Court, her loyalist and senior AIADMK leader O. Paneerselvam ‘functioned’ as the Chief Minister of the state.

The High Court verdict had come as a big relief for Jayalalithaa and her party AIADMK that faces a tough state assembly poll next year. The party had swept 2011 assembly polls defeating arch-rivals DMK, and had also performed powerfully in 2014 general elections winning 37 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.

Earlier on 27th September, 2014, a special court in Bengaluru had found the sitting Chief Minister Jayalalithaa guilty of acquiring disproportionate assets case worth Rs 58 crores during her stint as the CM from 1991 to 1996. The court had sentenced her to four years imprisonment alongside imposing a whopping fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had also convicted her associate V K Sasikala, her disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran and another close aide J Illavarasi. The three too were acquitted by the High Court’s order.

The appeal on the part of Congress party run state government also lends political signals of sorts as to with whom it may choose to ally, if they do, in the upcoming assembly polls next year.