Special Correspondent

His two wives were sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment

  • Rs. 21.36 lakh disproportionate wealth
  • Offences heinous in nature, says judge

    CHENNAI: A Special Court here on Monday convicted and sentenced V. Panneerselvam, a former AIADMK MLA, who represented the Bodinaickanur constituency, to three years rigorous imprisonment (RI) and ordered him to pay a fine of Rs.10,000 in the disproportionate wealth case against him.

    His two wives, P.Janakiammal and P.Dhanapakiam, were sentenced to one year RI and ordered to pay a fine of Rs.5,000 each. The accused paid the fine. The court suspended the operation of the substantive portion of the sentence till March 26 to enable the accused to file an appeal.

    It said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

    When questioned before the sentence was awarded, the accused said minimum punishment should be given to them as they were innocent.

    In 2003, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption filed a charge sheet against Mr. Panneerselvam for possessing wealth to the tune of Rs.21.36 lakh, which was "disproportionate to known sources of his income." Janaki and Dhanapakiam were cited as the other accused. The offences were under sections 13 (2) and 13 (1) (e) of PCA and 109 (abetment) IPC.

    In his 168-page verdict, Special Judge-I, R.Dakshinamurthy, held the accused guilty. The offences were heinous in nature. "As (a) representative of nearly five lakh people, A 1 (Panneerselvam) should be an example to them. A 1 was responsible for the welfare of the people; but A 1 was otherwise. If we show any sympathy to these accused, it will affect the morality of the people and affect the entire society in future."

    The judge said most of the immovable property had been purchased in the names of Janaki and Dhanapakiam. According to the two accused, they purchased them and had them in their possession during the check period. That itself revealed their knowledge about the purchases. They did not have sufficient resources to purchase them, he said.

    The values given by the prosecution for the immovable properties purchased in the names of the three persons were correct and proved. The former legislator had failed to satisfactorily account for the properties, found acquired in the names of the other two accused, the judge said.

    He rejected the contention of the three accused that they were in an affluent position and had their sources of income prior to the check period and acquired the properties on their own as far from truth.

    He also did not accept the contents of the cash flow statements of the accused as true and proved. There was no evidence to say they were submitted to the Income Tax department.

    As regards the purchase of vehicles, the judge said Mr. Panneerselvam had not sent any intimation to his authorities as per the public servant conduct rules and did not obtain prior permission.

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