The Madras High Court on Friday quashed the entire proceedings in the ‘gifts case' against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and two others.
In his order, Justice K.N.Basha said if the factual scenario in the instant case, coupled with the sequence of events, resulting in inordinate and unexplained delay of 10 years in completing the investigation, was tested on the touchstone of Supreme Court principles, he had no hesitation in holding that the petitioner's constitutional right to speedy trial stood flagrantly violated.
The CBI case was that Ms.Jayalalithaa accepted demand drafts totally valued at Rs.1.48 crore on her birthday in 1992.
Besides her, Agriculture Minister K.A.Sengottaiyan and a former Minister, Azhagu Thirunavukkarasu, were cited as accused for abetment.
With Friday's development, the only major case pending against her is the ‘disproportionate wealth case' before a Bangalore court.
Ms.Jayalalithaa moved the High Court seeking to quash the proceedings mainly on grounds of delay in registering the FIR and filing of the charge sheet. She also challenged an order of the Principal Judge for CBI cases dismissing her petition seeking discharge.
Mr.Sengottaiyan and Mr.Thirunavukkarasu filed petitions in the High Court against the dismissal of their discharge applications by the trial court.
In the common order, Mr.Justice Basha said the entire allegations against Ms.Jayalalithaa were founded on the basis of disclosure of the gifts received by her in her income-tax returns.
The FIR was not registered based on any complaint by any aggrieved person or from any other source of information.
Therefore, it was crystal clear that she had not suppressed any material factor. The FIR was registered on the allegation of receipt of 89 demand drafts from 57 persons including a foreign DD for $3 lakh, totalling Rs. 2 crore.
But, ultimately at the time of filing of the charge sheet, the allegation was confined to 21 persons including Mr.Sengottaiyan and Mr.Thirunavukkarasu.
The value of the DDs came to Rs.1.48 crore. As regards the foreign DD, it was stated that no offence was made out.