The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), Chennai, has written directly to the judge of the Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa stating that it is continuing with the investigation.
The letter, addressed to the judge of the Special Court and the 36th Additional City Civil and Sessions Court, was delivered directly to the court officer by an inspector of the DVAC on Wednesday morning. The Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) was not informed of it.
The Special Court has asked the DVAC to explain in writing why it chose to write to the court directly while keeping the SPP in the dark. “What was the need to give this letter bypassing the Prosecutor? On what provision of the law have you written this letter directly to the court? Normally, whatever the investigating agency has to submit before the trial court has to be done through the prosecutor,” Judge B.M. Mallikarjunaiah told DVAC Inspector A. Immanuel Gnan Sekhar, who delivered the letter to the court.
At this juncture, SPP B.V. Acharya pointed out that the Supreme Court, while transferring the trial to Bangalore from Chennai, had condemned a similar type of conduct. He also urged the court to ask the DVAC why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against it.
As the judge was passing an order to summon the Deputy Superintendent of Police of the DVAC who had written the letter, it was pointed out to him that the police officer, G. Sambandam, was present in the court.
As Mr. Sambandam informed the court that he had been assisting the investigating officer for a long time and was attending the court proceedings, the Judge asked him to explain under what provisions of the law the letter had been directly sent to the court.
Meanwhile, Mr. Acharya submitted that the court should proceed with recording the statement of the accused persons as contemplated in Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as the letter was another method intended to delay the trial. He argued that the court should not mix the issue of the letter with the main case.
Mr. Sambandam informed the court that a similar action was taken in another case in Chennai and that the instant letter was written under “instructions.” He sought time to submit his explanation in writing.
Meanwhile, counsel for the accused sought adjournment of the proceedings till the hearing on a petition filed by one of the accused (Sasikala Natarajan) before the Karnataka High Court challenging the special court's order refusing to recall a witness. Counsel stated that the hearing was adjourned to June 21 on the request of the lawyer appearing for the DVAC.
However, Mr. Acharya opposed the adjournment and submitted that the High Court had refused to stay the proceedings. The DVAC had now appointed a new lawyer to represent it before the High Court.
While rejecting the plea for adjourning the proceedings, the Special Court directed the DVAC to make available copies of the letter to the SPP and the accused.
It adjourned the proceedings to June 18.
'Lapses have occurred'
The application filed by the DVAC, intimating the court that it is investigating the case, says the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, who also holds charge as Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms, conducted a review meeting on June 3 in Chennai relating to the cases pending in the Special Investigation Cell, DVAC.
“The Chief Secretary has pointed out certain patent lapses [that have] occurred in the Special Case No. 208/2004 [disproportionate assets case against Ms. Jayalalithaa and others] during the investigation and directed to rectify the lapse and discrepancies pointed out by his letter dated June 8, 2011,” the application points out.
Deputy Superintendent of Police G. Sambandam, investigating officer, also states in his application that he was submitting these facts to the Special Court by way of intimation as per the guideline of the Supreme Court, in its verdicts, that permits such further investigation without prior permission of the court.