SC scripts the climax to the two-decade old wealth case

Supreme Court dismisses review pleas of Sasikala, kin

V.K. Sasikala at the Jayalalithaa memorial on February 15, 2017 before leaving for Bengaluru to surrender before court.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the review petitions of AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala and her relatives Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran, against their conviction in a disproportionate assets case.

A Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and Amitava Roy dismissed the review petitions, observing that “we do not find any error in the common judgment, much less an apparent error on the face of the record, so as to call for its review”.

Supreme Court scripts the climax to the two-decade old wealth case

The trio’s main contention was that since the case against the main accused and sole public servant in the corruption case, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, had abated, the charges against them should also abate. They argued that the case died with the death of the sole public servant and a corruption case cannot be sustained against private citizens.

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On August 23, 2017, when the Bench was deciding the issue, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the accused person, made an intervention that since Justice P.C. Ghose, lead judge on the original Bench who delivered the judgment in the DA case on February 14, 2017 had retired, the new combination of Justices Bobde and Roy should hear their review petitions afresh in open court.

Justice Bobde replaced Justice Ghose, when the latter retired on May 27, 2017.

Ill-gotten wealth

In its February judgment, the apex court had, albeit posthumously, found Jayalalithaa of having criminally conspired with her then aide Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence to launder ill-gotten wealth.

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However, while setting aside the Karnataka High Court’s acquittal of Sasikala and two co-accused in the 20-year-old disproportionate assets case, the Supreme Court said the appeals filed by the Karnataka government and others, including DMK leader K. Anbazhagan, against Jayalalithaa stand abated with her death on December 5, 2016. The court had “restored in toto” the trial court’s conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran in September 2014, and ordered them to surrender forthwith.

Even after she walks out free after completing a four-year jail term, Sasikala would be disqualified to contest elections for the next six years as per the Supreme Court judgment.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2021 4:56:52 PM |

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