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|June 6, 1998||
Jaya, Sasikala undertake not to alienate disputed property
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha and her close associate Sasikala Natarajan have given an undertaking before the Madras high court that they would not alienate or otherwise encumber their vehicles whose attachment by a special judge had been stayed by the high court on Thursday night.
Jayalalitha and Sasikala gave the undertaking in the petitions filed by them before the vacation judge, Justice E Padmanabhan, at his residence, seeking to set aside the special judge order attaching movable properties, including the vehicles, totally worth Rs 115.9 million belonging to them and three others.
Special judge-1 S Sambandam, trying cases of corruption during the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham regime, had, on Thursday morning, ordered interim attachment of the properties on a petition filed by the state Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption in the case relating to amassment of wealth worth Rs 660 million by Jayalalitha, which was disproportionate to her known sources of income when she was the chief minister.
On behalf of Jayalalitha and Sasikala, their counsel B Kumar said the vehicles were likely to be taken away any time.
Public prosecutor R Shanmugasundaram sought one week's time to file the counter.
In their petitions, Jayalalitha and Sasikala contended that the order for attachment of their moveable properties was ex-facie illegal as it was passed without hearing them or issuing notice to them. They said they appeared before the special judge in the wealth case and were also questioned and charges framed against them. While this was so, no order could be passed without any notice to them, they contended.
Their immovable properties had already been attached by the state invoking the powers under the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Therefore, there was no grave urgency to pass the extraordinary order, they said.
The petitioners further said the special court had no jurisdiction to pass the interim order for attachment of their moveable property because jurisdiction under the Criminal Law Amendment Act had already been invoked and their properties attached by the chief small causes court. Even if there was need for attachment of their property, the small causes court alone could be moved, they added.
The petitioners said it was a clear case of mala fide and was against all notions of fair play and justice to proceed to pass any order without notice to the accused. It was clearly intended to harass and humiliate them.
They said the special judge had erred in thinking that he was satisfied about the prima facie case. This ex-facie could not be correct even if the entire averment in the affidavit filed in support of the application was accepted as correct. There could not be any attachment of property unless a clear nexus between the offence and the acquisition of property was shown. No effort was made in this regard. Hence the application lacked jurisdictional facts to grant any relief, they contended.
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