K’taka High Court acquits Jayalalithaa
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in a disproportionate assets (DA) case. The verdict was pronounced on Monday on an appeal filed by the AIADMK supremo and three others, including her aide Sasikala, against a lower court order.
A single judge Bench of Justice CR Kumaraswamy delivered the judgement, just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals filed by her and three others. Lawyers outside the court said that Justice Kumaraswamy announced the verdict in 10 seconds after entering the court.
The judicial outcome will swing political fortunes in favour of the ruling AIADMK supremo in Tamil Nadu, which will go to polls in a year. No wonder Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called her up and congratulated her over the verdict.
In a statement issued to media, Jayalalithaa said that “truth and justice” have finally prevailed in the case. In her statement, she thanked God and the people of Tamil Nadu. “The judgment signifies that justice has won,” she said, adding that the judgment had cleared her of the charges “levelled by my
Meanwhile, celebrations broke out across Tamil Nadu, following the former CM’s acquittal. At Jayalalithaa’s residence in Chennai, thousands of party workers celebrated the news by beating the drums, distributing sweets and bursting crackers. Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, along with his Cabinet colleagues and senior party leaders, also joined the celebrations. Later, they met Jayalalithaa and discussed the next course of action.
Party sources said that Jayalalithaa was all set to return as the Chief Minister of the state. According to sources, the date of change in power could be as early as May 17.
The case related to a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramaniam Swamy on June 14, 1996, alleging that Jayalalithaa possessed assets disproportionate to her income. She was arrested on December 7, 1996, and was released on January 3, 1997. On the DMK’s plea filed on the November 18, 2003, the Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of trial in the case to Karnataka.
On September 27, 2014, the trial court Judge D Cunha had convicted Jayalalithaa and barred her from contesting elections for six years. The judge had also slapped a hefty fine on the former Chief Minister, besides sentencing her to four years in jail. On September 29, Jayalalithaa and others filed an appeal against their conviction in the Karnataka High Court. The Supreme Court granted her and others a conditional bail the same day.