Prosecutor seeks dismissal of Jayalalithaa’s plea

Bengaluru : Newly-appointed special public prosecutor B.V. Acharya on Tuesday sought dismissal of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s appeal against her conviction and four-year jail sentence by a trial court in a corruption case that dragged for nearly two decades.

“The trial court was right in judging that Jayalalithaa and three co-convicts did not have any other source of income and their bank transactions point to illegally gained wealth after she became chief minister for the first time in 1991,” Acharya told the special court of Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy.

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Noting Jayalalithaa and three other convicts had only 12 banks accounts with insignificant amounts in them before she became chief minister for the first time in 1991, Acharya asserted that the number of their bank accounts shot up to 52 in 1996 with huge transactions during her five-year tenure.

“There is also no dispute over the fact that Jayalalithaa and her accomplices had acquired 3,000 acres of land,” he said.

The three co-convicts are Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala Natarajan, her nephew V.N. Sudhakaran and her aunt J. Ellavarsi, who were also sentenced along with her for four years. Sudhakaran is also the disowned foster son of Jayalalithaa.

In an 18-page submission in the special court, Acharya accused Jayalalithaa’s counsel of deliberately omitting Karnataka as a respondent in the graft case after the Supreme Court ruled that the onus of prosecution was on the state government, as the trial was transferred to Karnataka in November 2003.

Earlier in the day, the state government notified Acharya as the special public prosecutor a day after the apex court on Monday struck down the appointment of senior counsel Bhavani Singh as the SPP by the Tamil Nadu government, as it had no jurisdiction over the case once it was transferred to Karnataka for fair trial.

Though Acharya was the original SPP in the graft case for nearly a decade since it was transferred to the state, he resigned in 2012, citing pressure from vested interests and other quarters.

Acharya’s submission was in compliance with the top court’s directive to the state government on Monday to file its statement on Tuesday in the appeals that Jayalaliatha had filed before the Karnataka High Court questioning her conviction in the case on September 27, 2014 here by special court judge John Michael D’Cunha.

A three judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, also directed the Karnataka High Court to ignore the arguments made by Bhavani Singh in the case before its special judge.

The apex court on October 17, 2014 granted an interim bail till December 18 to Jayalalithaa and her three co-convicts by staying her jail sentence. Their bail has been subsequently extended to May 12.

The 67-year-old ruling AIADMK general-secretary had also spent three weeks in the central jail on the city’s outskirts after the high court rejected her bail petition.