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SC issues notice to Jayalalithaa, Justice Ghose claims case is totally routine

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on a petition by the Karnataka government challenging the high court verdict acquitting her and three others in a disproportionate assets case.

Notice has also been issued to Jayalalithaa’s three close aides, Sasikala Natarajan, VN Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi.

An apex court bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice RK Agrawal also issued notice returnable in eight weeks on the petition by DMK leader K Anbazhagan and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, both challenging the Karnataka high court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa.

“It may be a very important matter for you, but for us, this is nothing. We will decide as per the law,” Justice Ghose observed as Special Public Prosecutor BV Acharya urged the court to pass a conditional order of stay of the high court judgment.

Last year, a trial court in Bengaluru sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years in jail and imposed a Rs 100 crore fine in the disproportionate assets case. But the Karnataka high court accepted Jayalalithaa’s appeal and acquitted her of all charges this year.

The Karnataka high court, holding the value of Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets at Rs.2.82 crore, instead of Rs.53.6 crore computed by the trial court, held the amount “not enough” to convict Jayalalithaa on corruption charges.

Justice CR Kumaraswamy also acquitted Jayalalithaa’s three co-convicts, sentenced to four years in jail and fined Rs.10 crore each for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during her first term as chief minister from 1991-96.

The co-convicts are Sasikala Natarajan, her nephew VN Sudhakaran and her aunt J Ellavarsi. Sudhakaran is also the disowned foster son of Jayalalithaa.

The high court’s order was faulted for glaring arithmetical errors, especially in respect of details of assets, loan raised and income earned.

Jayalalithaa, who was elected from Srirangam in May 2011, lost her seat and the chief minister’s post after the trial court’s verdict.

Jayalalithaa was again sworn in as chief minister after the Karnataka high court upheld her appeal and acquitted her of all charges.

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