News Karnataka
Tuesday, February 07 2023

Charges against me not established: Jayalalithaa

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New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha told the Supreme Court that the Karnataka government’s challenge to her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case was a “deep and pervasive antipathy” to the will of people who re-elected her with an overwhelming majority.

She also went on to term the charges of conspiracy and abetment were not established and were more of a myth.

In an affidavit countering the petition filed against her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, “The order of acquittal automatically effaces the finding of guilt by the trial court. So long as the order of acquittal is not set aside, the respondent (accused) cannot be subjected to the disabilities attendant upon a conviction”.

The affidavit follows the issuance of notice by the Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and R.K. Aggarwal to Ms. Jayalalithaa, her close aide N. Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarasi on the petitions filed by the Karnataka government, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader K. Anbazhagan and an intervention application filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

To a demand for stay of her acquittal sought by the Karnataka government and DMK leader K. Anbazhagan in the Supreme Court, the Chief Minister responded that the Karnataka government should have noted that she was a public servant who had recently been re-elected with an overwhelming majority.

“In the election, she trounced all her opponents and none of them could even secure their deposits. The will of the people cannot be defeated with a stay of acquittal,” the affidavit said.

The Karnataka government and Anbazhagan had called the May 11 High Court judgment delivered by Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy as “cryptic, lacks reasoning and illogical”.

In the affidavit, the Chief Minister countered that no tenable grounds were made out before the Supreme Court that the findings of the Karnataka High Court suffered from any error of law.

She said the High Court had reached its final conclusion on deep appreciation of facts.

“The judgment under appeal runs to 919 pages. It has dealt with the evidence and most of the documents have also been noticed in the judgment,” the affidavit read. Countering allegations that certain companies were held in benami trust for Ms. Jayalalithaa, the affidavit said the firms had their own independent means of income, earnings and resources.

She said it was the burden of the prosecution to prove benami property using “exacting standards of proof”, in which they had failed.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued notice on a petition filed by Anbazhagan challenging the Karnataka High Court order setting aside the confiscation of properties held by Indo-Doha Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd., Signora Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Ramraj Agro Mills Ltd., Meadow Agro Farms, Riverway Agro Products “for and on behalf of Ms. Jayalalithaa”

The affidavit said that if “strangers are given permission to file appeals against the acquittal, it will amount to legalised means of wrecking private vengeance”.

Highlighting that when an accused is acquitted on an appeal she has an “untrammeled right not to be vexed against at the instance of a third party, who has a political agenda”.

“Even the statutory right to file an appeal even by the State government, before the High Court, is conditional upon the grant of special leave to appeal… This Honourable Court in Lalu Prasad versus State of Bihar in 2010 has negatived the power of the State Government to file an appeal against acquittal when the prosecuting agency was the CBI,” the affidavit read.

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