J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday posted for final hearing after four weeks petitions filed by DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan opposing the clubbing of two disproportionate assets cases against former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and four others.

A Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice G.S. Singhvi posted the matter for final hearing after it was pointed out that pleadings had been completed. Besides Ms. Jayalalithaa, the other accused are her aide Sasikala, Ialavarasi, T.T.V. Dinakaran and V.N. Sudakaran.

Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for Mr. Anbazhagan, said since the matter was pending for more than three years after the Supreme Court ordered that the trial be shifted from a Chennai court to Bangalore, it required urgent consideration.

Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh, appearing for Tamil Nadu, sought expeditious hearing.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, Ranjit Kumar and others appeared for Ms. Jayalalithaa and other respondents.

Acting on a petition from Mr. Anbazhagan, the Supreme Court, in August 2005, stayed the operation of an order passed by the Bangalore special court clubbing the disproportionate assets and London Hotel cases against Ms. Jayalalithaa and others.

In her counter, Ms. Jayalalithaa justified the clubbing of the cases for joint trial. The special court, she said, ordered that the cases be merged after holding that the filing of the charge sheet was done in contravention of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

She said Mr. Anbazhagan’s petition was based on oblique motives/mala fides and political vendetta.

The special court had passed the order for joint trial since it found that the check period of the cases was the same, and that both raised common questions stemming from the same transaction. The Supreme Court should not entertain a petition at the instance of a political opponent who, she alleged, was seeking to meddle in the proceedings at every stage.

Mockery

Seeking dismissal of Mr. Anbazhagan’s petition, she said the facts would establish how the prosecution had made a mockery of the due process and how the powers that be had exerted pressure to harass and embarrass her by clandestinely registering a second First Information Report (in the London Hotel case), and by filing the second charge sheet based on the same facts in a different court.

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