Withdrawal of SPP at this point of time will delay proceedings: Jayalalithaa’s counsel

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Karnataka government to produce in the court on Friday the records pertaining to the appointment and removal of G. Bhavani Singh as Special Public Prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others in a Bangalore court.     

A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran challenging the notification removing Mr. Singh as SPP. On August 30, the Bench restrained the Karnataka government from appointing a new SPP.

When the Bench wanted to know from senior counsel M. N. Rao appearing for Karnataka whether the procedure of consultation with the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court was followed in the removal of Mr. Singh, the counsel said that initially in February this year, a panel of four names was sent to the Chief Justices and the CJ chose Mr. Singh for appointment. Since it was not an effective consultation, Mr. Singh was removed. He, however, sought two days’ time to file the response. The Bench, while granting time, asked the State to produce the entire records relating to the appointment and removal of Mr. Singh as SPP.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms. Jayalalithaa, said the withdrawal of the SPP at this point of time would delay the proceedings.

The trial judge was due to retire on September 30 and after the examination of 450 witnesses, the SPP had been removed, he said.

The DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan, who had been impleaded, alleged omissions and dereliction of duty on the part of the Special Public Prosecutor warranting his immediate withdrawal in public interest.

He pointed out that the accused persons gave a list of 133 defence witnesses and the SPP examined only 99 witnesses by cutting short the list suddenly.

He said these instances would clearly reveal that a fair and proper trial was not being conducted before the 36thAdditional City Civil cum Sessions Judge. He said the accused no 1 in the case was the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. “The manner in which the prosecution is conducting the case is being watched by the entire nation and it has wide ramifications. The entire nation is today up in arms against the disease of corruption. Under the circumstances every one is duty bound to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice in the present case due to the in-efficiency of the present Special Public Prosecutor”, he said.

Mr. Bhavani Singh, in his reply, said “he has attempted his best to ensure fairness in the proceedings. The manner in which he was removed has caused great prejudice to his reputation and also brought undeserved stigma. Though he did not hold any attachment to the SPP office, he would be willing to continue performing his duties as SPP if the court directed his continuance, he said.