The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain an appeal filed by AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa seeking to set aside a Karnataka High Court order declining to quash proceedings in the disproportionate assets case pending before a Bangalore court.
A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar, after hearing counsel for Ms. Jayalalithaa and counsel for the State, said: “It is not a fit case requiring our interference under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The Special Leave Petition stands dismissed. However, the trial court shall fix the calendar and schedule for further trial of the case bearing in mind the convenience of the parties.”
The Bench said: “It is needless to observe that the trial court shall give reasonable opportunity to the parties concerned. It is also needless to observe that the observations made by the High Court in the impugned order are confined only for the purposes of disposal of applications filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and shall have no bearing on the merits of the case.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa had assailed the March 10 order rejecting her plea for quashing the trial even as the trial court issued directions for recall and examination of 42 witnesses by the prosecution between March 18 and 27.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms. Jayalalithaa, submitted that the case had been transferred at the instance of her political opponent (DMK Minister K. Anbazhagan) from Tamil Nadu.
There was patent illegality of the order passed by the special judge in June 1997. The trial court in Bangalore was rushing through without giving adequate opportunity to study the papers.
However, senior counsel Altaf Ahmed and counsel Harish Kumar appearing for the State denied that the trial court was not giving the petitioner adequate opportunity. She had participated in the trial all these years and was now raising this plea, Mr. Ahmed said.
In her appeal, Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out that the conclusion of the High Court was unsustainable as it had not squarely addressed the specific issue raised by her — while the chargesheet mentioned three distinct offences, the special judge's order had taken cognisance of only the charges in respect of conspiracy and abetment.
It was obvious that the charge in respect of alleged possession of assets disproportionate to known sources of income under the Prevention of Corruption Act had not been taken cognisance of.