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Why is Jaya not in court, asks judge

April 18, 2005 21:42 IST

The special court in Bangalore trying the Rs 66.65-crore 'disproportionate wealth case' against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa adjourned the hearing to May nine.

Peeved by the defence counsels' repeated request to exempt Jayalalithaa from personal appearance, the court warned that the accused cannot remain absent from proceedings without valid reasons. "Otherwise, you must face consequences," it said.

The court also pulled up the advocates for demanding adjournment of the hearing. The advocates said N Jothi, the key counsel for Jayalalithaa, had been hospitalised and was not in a position to give 'instructions'.

Judge A S Pachchpure rejected the contention, saying it cannot be grounds for posting the matter to another date. "Other advocates can argue the case," the judge observed. He maintained he would not adjourn the matter and posted it to for hearing at 1500 IST.

When the court reassembled, defence advocates submitted that Jayalalithaa had clearly told them that only Jothi could argue her case. Jothi, they said, had been arguing her case all along and would be discharged only on Saturday. Hence, the matter could be posted to any day after Monday next.

The advocates repeatedly pleaded for adjournment, saying the judge should give them a 'last chance'. They said they would not seek any more adjournments and were even ready for day-to-day hearings.

The judge, who is going on leave from April 25, then posted the matter for further hearing on May nine.

Earlier in the morning, the judge expressed unhappiness that neither the accused nor the counsel was present when the criminal trial was going on.

And the reason given by the accused -- that they are absenting themselves because their counsel would not make an appearance due to illness -- made him angry.

"They (the accused and the counsel) are shifting the responsibility to each other," the judge commented.

"In a criminal trial, they have to be present, unless exempted. If you file application (seeking adjournment) this way, how can the trial commence?"

Jayalalithaa has moved an application seeking clubbing of the 'disproportionate wealth case' and the 'London Hotels case', in both of which she is the accused number one.

Besides Jayalalithaa, the other three accused in the wealth case are her close associate Sasikala Natarajan, V N Sudhagaran and Ilavarasi. In the hotels case, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member of Parliament T T V Dinakaran is the other accused.

Earlier report:

SC transfers Jaya cases to Bangalore


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