The Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday set March 21 as the deadline for Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G. Bhavani Singh to commence his final arguments.
The court passed the order as Mr. Singh remained absent from Saturday’s proceedings without assigning any reason. On Friday, the court had imposed a fine of Rs.60,000 on Mr. Singh for repeatedly seeking adjournment and delaying commencement of arguments.
John Michael Cunha, Judge of the Special Court, in his order, has made it clear that DMK leader K. Anbazhagan, who is acting as an intervener in the case, should submit his written arguments on March 21 if Mr. Singh failed to start his arguments that day.
And the counsel for the accused should commence their arguments from March 25.
The court refused the plea of the counsel for the accused persons to grant them four weeks time to prepare for the arguments, contending that it was the prerogative of the prosecutor to commence arguments first.
The court found their contention not only “inconsistent” but also “amusing” when compared to their plea made in July 2013 seeking court’s permission to commence their arguments prior to arguments by the SPP before the then judge of the Special Court.
The court noted that the counsel for the accused in August 2013 did argue for 13 days and it was after completion of their arguments that the SPP had started his arguments.
And this process of allowing counsel for the accused to submit arguments first, though challenged by Mr. Anbazhagan, was upheld by the Supreme Court in its order setting aside Karnataka government’s order of terminating Mr. Singh from the post of SPP.
The judge said the Special Court had no other alternative but to ask the accused counsel to begin arguments first to expedite the proceedings in the 16-year-old case for avoiding further delay as the SPP failed to avail himself of many opportunities granted to commence arguments since January 27.