Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will make her first appearance before the special court in Bengaluru on Thursday which is trying the disproportionate assets case against her.
The Supreme Court while disposing off an application filed by Jayalalithaa ordered her to appear before the court in Bengaluru.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief, who had been asked to appear before the special court last month, had moved the Supreme Court stating that the Karnataka government had failed to provide adequate security and hence she would not be able to appear in person.
However, the apex court while disposing off the application took on record the submission by the Karnataka government which stated that adequate security measures had been undertaken and there would be no problem for her to appear before the court.
An apex court bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra while giving its direction after Karnataka assured it of providing foolproof security asked Jayalalithaa how could a public figure like her remain away from people after she sought a postponement over security issues.
"You are public figure. How can you remain away from people," the bench remarked when senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi persisted with his apprehensions over her safety.
Karnataka's chief secretary and its director general of police both filed affidavits assuring the apex court of foolproof security measures in tune with her Z plus category status and elite National Security Guards cover.
The bench turned down Jayalalithaa's plea to at least shift the venue of her trial closer to the airport. Her counsel said since the trial court, located in a central prison, is 65 km from the airport her safety could be rendered vulnerable.
"What more do you want? The helipad has been prepared. Once the hearing is over, fly back home," the bench observed.
In Bengaluru, Special Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah directed Jayalalithaa to be present at the court for recording her statement and police to ensure proper security arrangements. The judge rejected her plea to hold the hearing at Jakkur Flying School near the airport.
The proceedings are being shifted to a court hall located close to the Parappana Agrahara central jail premises on the city outskirts from the city civil court complex in the hear of the city in view of security cover needed for her.
The special court at the Nrupathunga Road in the city has been hearing this case since the past five years now. However, there were several delays and the case has moved at a very slow pace.
Police officials in charge of the security around the court premises say that adequate arrangements have been made in the area. The Bengaluru city police said prohibitory orders would be in force around the jail from Wednesday evening till Thursday.
There is every possibility that none may be allowed into the court hall on Thursday where Jayalalithaa would stand trial.
The trial of the disproportionate assets case, allegedly involving accumulation of assets worth over Rs 66 crore by Jayalalithaa when she was chief minister between 1991 and 1996, was shifted earlier to Bangalore by the apex court on her fears that she might be denied a fair trial in Tamil Nadu due to state's erstwhile DMK government.
The case was, however, transferred out of Tamil Nadu to Bengaluru following an application which stated that she would try and tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses considering the clout that she enjoys in the state.
With inputs from PTI