Jayalalithaa assets case: Apex court reserves order
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a bunch of petitions challenging the acquittal of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalith aa in the `66.65 crore disproportionate assets case after hearing the matter for 20 days over four months.
A bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy concluded the hearing on the appeal filed by Karnataka government, DMK leader K Anbazhagan and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the acquittal of the AIADMK chief, her former close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi. Jayalalithaa and her associ ates were acquitted by the Karnataka high court which had set aside the trial court’s order holding them guilty of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during her first term as chief minister in 1991-96 .
The trial court had sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years imprisonment and directed her to pay a fine of `100 crore. She had to resign as chief minister after her conviction. She assumed office after the Supreme Court granted her bail and stayed her conviction.
The SC had entertained the appeal of the Karnataka government and others on July 27 last year and had issued notices to Jayalalithaa and her associates seeking their response. The court started day-to-day hearing from February 23.
Challenging Jayalalithaa’s acquittal, the Karnataka government told the apex court that the HC’s verdict was “perverse“ as it “committed error“ in calculating her assets. It alleged that the HC had committed grave error in calculating the disproportionate assets to the extent of 8.12% only when actually it worked out to 76.7% of the total income of the AIADMK chief and others.
Jayalalithaa’s counsel stoutly opposed Karnataka’s contention saying there was no error in the HC order and the top court should not interfere with it. The AIADMK chief also placed a chart before the bench with details of her golddiamond jewellery .
The other petitioners contended that the HC had undervalued properties owned by the chief minister and committed an error while calculating her income from her various ventures including agricultural income and the loan taken by her from nationalized banks.
A special court convicted Jayalalithaa and three others on September 27, 2014 but the Karnataka HC acquitted her on May 11, 2015.