Bhavani Singh delayed final arguments, sought adjournments

The Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday imposed a fine of Rs. 60,000 on the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G. Bhavani Singh for repeatedly delaying his final arguments and seeking adjournments.

“I do not see any justifiable reason to adjourn the matter. As the SPP has been repeatedly seeking adjournments since January 27, 2014, without justifiable cause, I am left with no option other than to impose nothing less than one day’s remuneration [Rs. 60,000] payable to the SPP as fixed by the government for each hearing as cost or to permit the accused counsel to commence argument,” said John Michael Cunha, Judge of the Special Court, in his detailed order.

The court also made it clear that the Counsel for the accused would be allowed to start arguments on March 15, if the SPP failed to start his arguments on that day.

The court passed the order after Mr. Singh on Friday filed a memo along with a medical certificate, issued by Lotus Multi Speciality Centre, Bangalore, recommending him “strict bed rest for a minimum period of 10 days for faster recovery” from ailments. Meanwhile, the court noted that M.S. Maradi, assistant advocate to the SPP, during the hearing on March 10 had submitted that SPP would “positively commence arguments today [March 14].” Instead of honouring the commitment, the court said, the SPP has come up with a fresh medical certificate.

The court also recorded the submission of Mr. Maradi that he was prepared to argue the matter provided the SPP permitted him to do so. However, Mr. Singh submitted that Mr. Maradi cannot commence arguments as he [Maradi] was appointed only to assist him.

Finally, the court adjourned arguments to March 15 imposing fine on Mr. Singh.

Earlier, the court dismissed with a fine of Rs. 10,000 an application filed by M/s Lex Properties Development Pvt. Ltd., of which Ms. Jayalalithaa and other accused were directors, seeking stay or trial or differing arguments till its application for releasing attached properties are heard.

The court observed that “the only intention of the application was to stall proceedings... Applicant and the accused have joined hands to protract the trial…”