The verdict of the Karanataka High Court acquitting former chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu Jayaram Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets (DA) case was condemned by lawyer, activist and politician Prashant Bhushan.
Prashan Bhushan while talking to TEHELKA said : “Using her influence, Jayalalithaa managed to delay the trial for 17 years, even though charges were framed against her by the Special Court in 1997.” He went on to add : “Powerful persons like Jayalalithaa and Salman Khan manage to get bail despite convictions for serious offences, and also manage to get acquittals sometimes after farcical appeal proceedings.”
Bhushan said this was a scathing indictment of the judiciary and the criminal justice system and that successive governments and even the judiciary have failed to be serious about judicial reforms. “It is time for the citizens to mount a massive movement to make the judiciary more accessible, quick, fair, transparent and accountable,” he said.
Bhushan further added that “It is unfortunate that the judiciary indulges powerful individuals and grants them bails and acquittals, while thousands of undertrials languish in jail, a large number of whom are found to be innocent.”
After the court order, Jayalalithaa said in a statement: “Truth and justice have prevailed,I am immensely satisfied, the verdict has paved the way for me to emerge as tested pure gold.”
Jayalalithaa was convicted and sentenced for four years by a trial court in September last year as she was found guilty of gathering unaccounted-for wealth and had to quit as the chief minister.
Short look at Jayalalithaa’s life and cases
- 14 June 1996 – Complaint filed against Jayalalithaa for amassing disproportionate wealth
- 18 June 1996 – The then DMK led government registered FIR against Jayalalithaa
- 21 June 1996 – On the directions of Principal Sessions Court the then DSP of Tamil Nadu investigated the complaint.
- 4 June 1997 – Charge sheet filed in the case against four of the accused Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran
- 21 October 1997 – The special court framed charges against all the accused
- 14 May 2001 – Jayalalithaa led ADMK comes back to power in Tamil Nadu
- 18 November 2003 – Supreme Court directed the trial to be moved Bangalore, Karnataka
- 13 August 2012 – Special Public Prosecutor, B.V. Acharya resigned quoting efforts transferring him
- 2 February 2013 – G. Bhawani Singh appointed as the special public prosecutor26 August 2013 – Karnataka government removed G. Bhawani Singh as prosecutor
- 7 September 2013 – Supreme court reinstates G. Bhawani Singh as the special public prosecutor
- 27 September 2014 – Court pronounces verdict – all four convicted were sentenced.
- 7 October 2014 – Bail plea rejected by Karnataka High Court Bench.
- 17 October 2014 – Supreme Court granted bail to Jayalalithaa.
- 27 April 2015 – Supreme Court holds appointment of Bhawani Singh as prosecutor in appeal as wrong in law but doesn’t allow a fresh hearing.
- 11 May 2015 – Jayalalithaa gets acquitted of all corruption charges by the Karnataka High Court.