Special Judge passed the order in 2000 holding that the DVAC was entitled to an order of attachment

: The Madras High Court has set aside an order of the Special Judge, Chennai, in July 2000 attaching certain property involved in the “disproportionate wealth case” against the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa. Justice Aruna Jagadeesan passed the order on an appeal filed by Ms.Jayalalithaa and Sasikala and two others.

The Special Judge passed the order on July 17, 2000 holding that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption was entitled to an order of attachment. Ms.Jayalalithaa and others were aggrieved by the lower court’s order. Hence, they moved the High Court.

Allowing the appeal, Mrs. Justice Aruna Jagadeesan said that in this case, no notice had been sent to the nearly 20 companies/firms whose property had been attached, in order to find out as to whether any person had any interest in the property. In the absence of notice to the firms, it could not be said that the legal requirement had been complied with.

The purpose of furnishing the names and addresses of the companies was to afford an occasion to the court to peruse the list, issue notices to them and call upon them to appear before the court and make their objections to the attachment.

The appellants had submitted that there could never be a reasonable opportunity to contest the investigating agency unless the interested persons were put on notice. Without issuing notice there could not be an attachment by way of an omnibus order.

Mrs.Justice Aruna Jagadeesan said that the reasoning given by the Special Judge for non-compliance with the mandatory provision was unacceptable.

She remitted the matter back to the Special Judge at Bangalore (where the case is being heard at present) for a fresh disposal by directing the prosecution to include all the firms and companies concerned and dispose of the application at the first instance and pass orders.

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