Supreme Court refuses to declare Jayalalithaa convict after her death


Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Karnataka’s request to declare J Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu chief minister, a convict in a corruption case.

A bench of Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said.”Applications for personal hearing of review petitions before the court are rejected. 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.”

The Karnataka government had on 21 March moved the top court against its 14 February judgement contending that once the proceedings were abated, it would not be possible to recover the fine of Rs. 100 crore imposed on the late leader which was part of the punishment awarded to her in the case.

The top court had on 14 February convicted AIADMK chief VK Sasikala and two others in the case, while abating proceedings against Jayalalithaa as she had died.

The court had, however, made clear that the fine imposed on her can be recovered.

The top court had restored the special trial court verdict convicting all the accused and set aside the Karnataka High Court judgement 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 top 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.

60-year-old Ms 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 Ms Sasikala’s two relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi was also upheld by the top court and they were directed to surrender to serve their four-year term.

The top 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.

(With PTI inputs)