The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Karnataka’s plea to review the abatement of appeal against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and recovery of ₹100 crore fine in a disproportionate assets case.
The SC order in the DA case, that has gone through various trial phases over the last 20 years, was finally pronounced on February 14, 2017. In its order, the apex court upheld the conviction of the four persons accused of accumulating assets disproportionate to their known sources of income – J Jayalalithaa, Sasikala Natarajan, V N Sudhakaran, and Ilavarasi.
“These Review Petitions have been filed against judgment dated February 14, 2017, whereby the appeals filed by the appellant-State of Karnataka were allowed setting aside the judgment and order of the High Court and Jayalalithaa having expired meanwhile, it was held that the appeals, so far as those relate to her stood abated. We have considered the review petitions filed by the State of Karnataka on merits. In our opinion, no case for review of our order dated February 14, 2017 is made out. Consequently, the review petitions are dismissed on merits,” a bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy said.
The apex court had on February 14 convicted AIADMK chief VK Sasikala and two others in the case, while abating proceedings against Jayalalithaa.
The court had, however, made clear that the fine imposed on her can be recovered.
The apex court had restored the special trial court verdict convicting all the accused and set aside the Karnataka high court judgment in the case.
The trial court had found disproportionate assets valued at Rs. 53.60 crore, which Jayalalithaa and the three others could not account for. The CBI had alleged that the unaccounted wealth was to the tune of Rs. 66.65 crore.
In its review plea, the state government had contended that the apex court’s decision to abate the proceedings against Jayalalithaa was an “error apparent on the face of record”.
The plea had said that the abatement of proceedings was “erroneous” as there was no provision either in the Constitution or the Supreme Court rules for it.
Jayalalithaa had been sentenced to a four-year jail term, along with Rs. 100 crore fine by the Bengaluru court.
Sixty-year-old Sasikala has to serve a jail term of around three-and-a-half years, out of the four years awarded by the trial court, as she has already spent almost six months in prison.
The conviction of Sasikala’s two relatives VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi was also upheld by the apex court and they were directed to surrender to serve their four-year term.
The apex court had set aside the high court order, acquitting all the four accused and had “restored in toto” the trial court’s decision in the 19-year-old case.