'The ruling DMK in 1997 interfered in the investigation'

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa completed recording of her statements in the Rs. 66.6-crore disproportionate assets case in the Special Court here on Wednesday. She is learnt to have told the court that the entire case was fabricated at the instance of the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also alleged that the DMK, in power in 1997, had interfered in the investigation. She argued that the entire case was meant to defame her and tarnish her image, Special Public Prosecutor B.V. Acharya said briefing journalists.

“She alleged that two senior Ministers including Arcot N. Veeraswamy had interfered in the investigation and the entire investigation took place under their directions.” Spread over three-and-half days, Ms. Jayalalitha answered 1,339 questions framed by the court on the basis of evidence provided by 259 witnesses. The trial of the case pertained to the alleged accumulation of wealth by her between 1991 and 1996 when she was Chief Minister.

While she appeared twice before the Special Court set up at Gandhi Bhavan in Parappana Agrahara on the city's outskirts in the third week of October, she resumed recording her statements on Tuesday.

Terming false Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's complaint, based on which the proceedings are being held, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the investigations conducted by investigating officer N. Nallamma Naidu had no validity and were also illegal. “She said permission had been granted to N. Nallamma Naidu to investigate Dr. Swamy's complaint, but not the present case that is at the instance of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC),” Mr. Acharya said.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also contended that a warrant had been issued to search 36 Poes Garden in Chennai and not the neighbouring 31A, and hence the search conducted on 31A was illegal. Further, she said, she had not bought any property except 31A during her term (1991-1996).On the search and seizure of her property in Hyderabad, Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was illegal since the Madras court did not have jurisdiction. According to Mr. Acharya, she also denied various evidentiary statements, including that of an IAS officer, that she had used officials for personal purposes

Her counsel B. Kumar said they had requested the court to provide an opportunity to present the defence witnesses. This plea would be considered after the recording of statements of the other accused.

Ms. Jayalalithaa filed a detailed statement along with voluminous documents. On Wednesday, she was accompanied by her friend Sasikala, a co-accused in the case. While Ilavarasi, another accused, had sought exemption from appearance citing health grounds, T.V. Sudhakaran, the other accused, was present.

The Special Court will resume its proceedings on November 29 at the regular court in the city.