Jayalalithaa acquitted

JayalalithaIn a major victory for AIADMK, a special bench of the Karnataka High Court on Monday set aside the trial court order convicting former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.

Justice C.R Kumaraswamy, who read out the judgment at 11 a.m, said the appeals of all the four accused, including Ms. Jayalalithaa have been allowed and they were being acquitted of all charges.

With this, a case that had panned out over 18 tortuous years was over within seconds. Jayalalithaa was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court, less than a year after she was sentenced to four years and a fine of Rs. 100 crore in the disproportionate assets case.

Today’s proceedings in brief:

> The other three accused – and acquitted – were Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala Natarajan and the latter’s relatives J Elavarasi and V N Sudhakaran.

> Jayalalithaa was not required to be present in court during the judgment – which explained the sparse crowds around the Karnataka High Court. Her residence, in contrast, thronged with ecstatic supporters, even as some other Chennai-ites offered milk to her poster-images.

> What are the choices before Jayalalithaa? She can take oath immediately, and ask an MLA to vacate a seat for her and contest within six months. But she might think it prudent to wait until she is elected as an MLA, as the Election Commission is under no compulsion to hold a by-election immediately. Alternatively, she can opt for a dissolution of the House and go for fresh general election to the Assembly.

> What about new appeals against the verdict? It is now left to the State of Karnataka to appeal against this verdict. But the original complainant – Subramanian Swamy – can also appeal, as can DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan (the intervenor in this case) who got it transferred to Karnataka and whose submissions were part of the record during trial and appeal. (The Hindu)

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