A Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday ordered for shifting to Bangalore all the valuables and other materials seized from the accused persons in connection with the case.
Special Court judge John Michael Cunha passed the order while allowing a plea filed by DMK leader K. Anbazhagan seeking a direction to postpone the proceedings of the case till all the seized materials are transferred to Bangalore from Chennai, where it has been deposited in Reserve Bank of India’s treasury.
The Special Court refused to accept the contention of the accused that there was no need to shift the valuables as according to the law the valuables are in the custody of the Special Court in Bangalore following transfer of the case to Bangalore from Chennai in 2003, even though physically they are in the custody of the Special Court in Chennai.
“If the arguments of the learned counsel for the accused is accepted, it would lead to a precarious situation in case discrepancy is noted in the weight, description and identity of the material objects or in case any loss or missing of the articles is reported, responsibility may have to be assumed by the Presiding Officer of the Special Court at Bangalore though the charge of the properties is not transferred to him, merely because the Special Court at Chennai has ceased of jurisdiction over the matter,” the judge stated.
The Court said “…if the court proceeds to dispose of the case without physically securing the properties, it is likely to give rise to an impression that the essential evidence produced before the court has not been looked into by the Court…therefore there can be no two opinions that the material objects marked in the case are absolutely necessary for fair decision in the case.”
The Court adjourned further proceedings till December 21, or till the shifting of the valuables.
Restriction on media
The Court said that for security reasons, the jurisdictional station house officer and investigating officers should ensure that the date and the process of handing over and transit of the valuables to Bangalore shall not be telecast or publicised by electronic and print media or by any persons in whatsoever manner. On bringing the valuables to Bangalore they would be deposited at Safe Vault of Stamp Depot, Vidhana Soudha, or safe custody of the RBI.
Valuables include around 800 kg silver, 28 kg gold, 750 pairs of shoes, 10,500 saris, 91 watches and several other items that were seized during the raid conducted by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption (DVAC), Chennai.