The prosecution in the assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday charged her close aide and co-accused Sasikala Natarajan with trying to delay the trial after she filed an application in the special court raising questions concerning the translation process.
Special Public Prosecutor B V Aacharya opposed the interlocutory application filed by the counsel of Ms. Sasikala, who was scheduled to be questioned by Special judge B M Mallikarjunaiah today.
The judge posted the application for orders on December 13.
Opposing the application, Mr. Acharya said “requirement of law will be satisfied if the recording of the substance of the question put and the recording of the substance of the answer given in the language of the court, which is English”.
He contended that applications after applications were being filed (by the accused) only to delay the trial in the case relating to accumulation of wealth allegedly disproportionate to her known sources of income by Ms. Jayalalithaa when she was Chief Minister in 1991-96.
The court had earlier adjourned the case for today for questioning Ms. Sasikala, second accused, after the four-day deposition of Jayalalithaa last month during which she answered 1,339 questions framed by the Judge.
After hearing the submissions made by senior counsel for Ms. Sasikala, Santhana Gopalan and objections filed by Mr. Acharya in the form of a memo, the court posted the matter to Dec 13.
The court directed advocate K S Harish, who was appointed earlier as interpreter, to continue to assist the court in recording the statements of Ms. Sasikala by translating questions to her from English to Tamil and her replies to English.
Ms. Sasikala, who was present along with the other accused in the case - V Sudhakaran (Jayalalithaa’s estranged foster son) and Ilavarasi, in an affidavit today said she had studied upto tenth standard in a rural school and did not know any other language except Tamil.
In the IA, she sought the court’s direction to the interpreter to keep the translated version of the questions framed by the court ready in Tamil and then record the answers given by the accused in Tamil which could then be translated into English.
Ms. Sasikala’s counsel quoted a Kolkata High Court judgement to support his argument and submitted that “though the process may take time, it cannot be substituted as far as fairness of the trial is concerned or the liberty granted to the accused”.
The case was shifted to Bangalore by the Supreme Court on a petition by DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan.