Accused should appear in person to know what arguments are being made, says Judge
The Special Court in Bangalore on Thursday directed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and other accused persons in the disproportionate assets case to appear “without fail” on all dates of hearing from October 30.
The court observed in its order that “since the matter is being fixed for arguments on merits, the accused should appear in person to know what arguments are being addressed in the case.”
G.B. Mudigoudar, judge of the Special Court on Fake Stamps cases, passed the order as he is now holding concurrent charge of the Special Court for the disproportionate assets case against Ms. Jayalalithaa following retirement of M.S. Balakrishna on September 30.
The court passed this order as a condition to allow the application filed by all the accused seeking exemption from personal appearance from Thursday’s proceedings.
When counsel for the accused submitted applications seeking exemption from personal appearance, the court asked Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G. Bhavani Singh whether he had any objection.
As Mr. Singh said presence of the accused was not required, the court allowed the application on the condition that all the accused should be personally present “without fail” from the next date of hearing. V.K. Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarasi are the other accused in the case.
Earlier, when the case came up for hearing, counsel for the accused as well as Mr. Singh produced the copies of the recent verdict of the Supreme Court setting aside the Karnataka government’s order removing Mr. Singh from the post of SPP.
Counsel for Ms. Jayalalithaa requested the court to adjourn hearing while pointing out that the Karnataka High Court and the State government would have to act on the orders passed by the apex court on the subject of continuing Mr. Balakrishna on contractual basis as the Special Judge for continuing and concluding the trial in the case. Meanwhile, the court asked the SPP to file objections on claim petitions filed by two firms — Meadow Agro Farms (Pvt.) Ltd. and Riverway Agro Products (Pvt.) Ltd., Chennai — seeking to raise the order of attachment of property in the disproportionate assets case.
Contending that accused in this case “never had any right over the property standing in the name of the firms”, the firms had sought a direction from the Court of Small Causes in Chennai during early 2000, but the Madras High Court, in 2006, ordered that it was only the Special Court in Bangalore that could consider such application as the case was transferred there.