Dispenses with his appearance before special court

The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday stayed all further proceedings in a criminal case pending against Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam and six of his family members before a Special Court in Madurai for trial of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Justice V. Periyakaruppiah also dispensed with the presence of the Minister and his family members before the Special Judge who, according to the petitioners, had directed them to appear on November 28 without issuing any notice or summons.

The petitioners had sought to transfer the case from the Special Court in Madurai to any other court by levelling certain allegations against the Presiding Officer. Hence, Mr. Justice Periyakaruppiah decided to call for remarks from the Special Judge before taking a decision on the issue.

“The complaints made against the Special Court, if true, are serious,” the judge said and directed the High Court Registry to call for an explanation.

The case was ordered to be posted after two weeks or immediately after the receipt of the remarks.

Arguing for the petitioners, senior counsel B. Kumar stated that the corruption case was actually transferred from the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Theni to the Special Court here.

The CJM had ordered the petitioners to appear before the Special Court only on January 24 next year.

However, the Special Judge insisted on their presence on November 28 itself.

The criminal case was registered by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption in 2006 on charges of possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.