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POTA case: SC stays trial against Vaiko

May 07, 2004 18:42 IST

In a major relief to Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagan leader V Gopalaswamy, better known as Vaiko, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed proceedings in the trial against him under the stringent Prevention of Terrorism Act.

A bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice S B Sinha issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government on an appeal filed by the MDMK leader, who is accused of having links with the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

This comes as a major relief to Vaiko as the Madras high court in its April 29 order had directed completion of the trial by June 30.

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In his appeal challenging the high court order, Vaiko had cited the April 8 decision of the central POTA Review Committee, which had held that prima facie there was no case made out against the MDMK leader for the state government to proceed against him under Section 21 of the anti-terrorist law.

Despite the Committee directing the state government to issue suitable directions to withdraw the prosecution against him, the Public Prosecutor in the case made a statement to the media that he would not file an application for withdrawal of the case against the petitioner, Vaiko's counsel, senior advocate Fali Nariman, said.

The high court had dismissed Vaiko's writ petition seeking a direction to the state government to withdraw the case saying it was for the public prosecutor to independently apply his mind to the matter and take a decision.

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