Supreme Court stays jail term of former Tamil Nadu Minister Ponmudy in disproportionate assets case

Order paves the way for senior DMK leader Ponmudy’s return as a legislator

March 11, 2024 03:58 pm | Updated 10:37 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Former Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy. File

Former Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy. File | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Supreme Court on Monday, March 11, 2024 stayed the conviction and three-year prison sentence of former Tamil Nadu Minister and senior DMK leader K. Ponmudy in a disproportionate assets case.

A Bench headed by Justice A.S. Oka also stayed the sentence of his wife, P. Visalakshi, in the case.

The order paves the way for Mr. Ponmudy’s return as a legislator.

The Supreme Court, in a chamber hearing in January, had granted the couple exemption from surrendering following the Madras High Court judgment.

The couple were represented by senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Siddharth Luthra. Advocate D. Kumanan appeared for the State of Tamil Nadu.

The High Court had reversed the trial court’s decision to acquit them in April 2016.

The case relates to the charge that Mr. Ponmudy and his wife had amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income when he held the portfolio of higher education and mines in the DMK regime between 2006 and 2011. The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption had registered the case after the AIADMK came to power in May 2011.

The petitioners argued that the High Court had wrongly overturned the well-detailed acquittal by the trial court. They had submitted that the High Court erred in clubbing the assets of Mr. Ponmudy and his wife to determine the “property disproportionate”.

“It is prima facie apparent that his wife, who is not a public servant, is well-qualified, is a separate entity/individual who holds several assets and is running companies having separate sources of income even prior to the check period,” their petition had argued.

The petition had said it was not “legally permissible to club the income of a public servant with the income of the spouse who is holding agricultural land measuring 26 acres and business with several crores of rupees’ turnover”.

“She is earning independently… She is an income tax assessee as an independent individual… Her income and property are multi-fold than the property and income of Mr. Ponmudy,” it had contended.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.