But refuses permission to submit arguments on behalf of prosecution
The Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha on Wednesday permitted DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan to file written arguments and assist the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the case according to Section 301(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) but rejected his other plea for submitting oral arguments on behalf of the prosecution.
In partly allowing the plea of 89-year-old Mr. Anbazhagan, the court said the “definition of private persons cannot be confined to a victim or a complainant in cases arising under the Prevention of Corruption Act. A member of the public will be an interested person. The bona fides of such person in invoking Section 301(2) of the Cr.PC are to be borne in mind while deciding the maintainability of such applications.”
The Special Court also considered the observation made by the Supreme Court terming Mr. Anbazhagan “an interested party” in the disproportionate assets case while transferring the case to Bangalore from Chennai on his petition in 2003.
M.S. Balakrishna, judge of the Special Court and 36th City Civil and Sessions Court, Bangalore, passed the order on Mr. Anbazhagan’s application. He had sought the court’s permission to assist SPP G. Bhavani Singh as the latter was not fully conversant with the evidence and facts of the case as he was appointed recently; and to submit oral arguments on behalf of the SPP and prosecution.
However, while citing various verdicts of High Courts and the apex court, the Special Court said it was the public prosecutor who had the duty and responsibility of conducting the case on behalf of the prosecution and had control over the proceedings. Private persons could only assist him according to Section 301(2) of the Cr.PC, the court said.
The accused — Ms. Jayalalitha, Sasikala Natarajan, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarsi — had opposed the application on the grounds that Mr. Anbazhagan is neither an “interested party” nor was he a de facto complainant in the case. Referring to the Karnataka High Court’s verdict that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, which has prosecuted the accused, could be represented only through the SPP appointed by the Karnataka government in consultation with the Chief Justice of Karnataka, the accused had alleged that Mr. Anbazhagan’s application was “engineered by one T.M. Selva Ganapathi for political vendetta.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Singh had told the court that he had no objection for allowing Mr. Anbazhagan to assist him [SPP] in the case but the applicant would not be entitled to represent independently, including reading of evidence and advancing arguments on behalf of the prosecution.