The Madras High Court Bench here has discharged former Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) minister K.N. Nehru and his wife N. Shantha from a disproportionate wealth case.
Justice A. Arumughaswamy ruled that ‘the question of disproportionate assets does not arise’ because the former minister proved that he had received the alleged disproportionate amount of Rs. 60 lakh from his son N. Arun.
But Justice Arumughaswamy gave the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption sleuths the liberty to proceed with their investigation against Mr. Arun.
According to the prosecution, during Mr. Nehru’s tenure as minister from May 13, 2006 and March 24, 2011, his family had acquired Rs. 60 lakh, 75 sovereigns of gold jewels and one kg of silver articles disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police, DVAC-Tiruchi, had booked Mr. Nehru and his wife. Mr. Nehru and his family’s petition to discharge them from the case was dismissed by the trial court, which directed the DVAC sleuths to investigate the case further, prompting them to move the High Court Bench in Madurai.
In their petition at the High Court, Mr. Nehru’s counsel argued that Mr. Arun, a builder, had acquired Rs. 60 lakh from a construction company for his business and had handed it to Mr. Nehru. The trial court had instructed the DVAC sleuths to conduct further investigation because there were no sufficient materials against Mr. Nehru and his wife, the counsel contended.
The Public Prosecutor argued that the materials seized by the prosecution were sufficient to frame charges against the former minister and his wife.
In his judgement, Justice Arumughaswamy noted that “unless the prosecution establishes as to how Mr. Arun got the income and how the former minister utilised the income, it cannot be said that Mr. Nehru committed the offence.”