New Delhi: The Karnataka government on Tuesday sought the reversal of its state high court verdict acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a corruption case, saying that her exoneration defeats the mandate of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The state has challenged the high court’s May 11, 2015 verdict reversing a September 27, 2014 Bangaluru trial court order convicting Jayalalithaa, her aide N. Sasikala Natrajan and the latter’s two relatives V.N. Sudhakaran and Elavarasi in case of owning disproportionate assets.
Jayalalithaa and other were accused of allegedly amassing disproportionate asserts to the tune of Rs. 66.65.crores during her first term as chief minister from 1991 to 1996.
Assailing the high court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa as “perverse” with “glaring mistakes” senior counsel Dushyant Dave told a bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy that t is the duty of the courts to advance the objective of the Prevention of Corruption Act” under which Jayalalithaa and others were tried.
Telling the court that the high court judgment “defeats the objectives” of the act, he referred to the two earlier judgments of the apex court which had said that corruption was a cancer affecting all aspects of the society and, if not dealt with in time, could assume malignant proportions.
Pointing to the figures that the high court had relied upon for reversing the trial court verdict convicting the four accused, Dave told the court that all they had conspired to camouflage the disproportionate assets acquired by the chief minister by creating a web of companies.
He said that the case of the prosecution is that assets which they came to acquire was grossly disproportionate to the assets of all the four put together.
After a trial that lasted for 18 years, a trial court in Bangaluru had convicted Jayalalithaa and sentenced her to four-year jail term and a Rs.100 crore fine.
Jayalalithaa’s acquittal has also been challenged by DMK leader and the original complainant Anbazhagan and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy. The apex court on July 27, 2015 had issued notice on their petitions.
Assailing the error in calculating the disproportionate assets of Jayalalithaa by the high court, the Karnataka government in its petition had contended that the reversal of the trial court verdict has resulted in “miscarriage of justice”.
It had also said that besides other infirmities in the high court verdict, the “grave mistake” in total of ten loans has “resulted in the acquittal (of Jayalalithaa and others) instead of an order confirming the conviction”.
The Karnataka government had also questioned whether Jayalalithaa’s appeal against trial court verdict convicting her and others in the case was maintainable without making it (Karnataka) a respondent.
The state government had contended that because the accused did not make the Karnataka government a party to the case, it could not appoint a public prosecutor to pursue the case and went unrepresented.
Dave will continue his arguments on Wednesday.