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|February 10, 1999||
Move on Jaya's cases legally valid, says Thambidurai
Union Law Minister M Thambidurai today justified the Centre's gazette notification transferring corruption cases against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and others from special judges to other judges, saying the Centre had adequate powers to effect such transfers.
He told newsmen in Karur, Tamil Nadu, today that the notification was consistent with the stand taken by the government before the Supreme Court on the issue.
He said the state government had sent the bill, passed by the assembly for establishing special courts to try the cases, to the Centre for presidential assent on April 22, 1997. The then United Front government had twice asked for some clarification from the DMK government. The BJP-led government had also sought clarification, but till date the state government had not provided the clarification.
He said on January 20, the Centre had told the DMK government that the Madras high court's order upholding the constitution of three special courts to try corruption cases against Jayalalitha did not inhibit the exercise of the Union government's power under Section 4 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Thambidurai said the notification was legally valid and the Centre would take necessary legal steps if the DMK government challenged the notification.
Stating that 360 corruption cases against several persons were pending before special courts for years together, he accused the DMK government of foisting cases on Jayalalitha and others to wreak political vengeance.
Denying opposition allegation that he had leaked a budget proposal to levy five per cent on diesel and petrol to fund the proposed six lane-expressway project, he said the tax proposal was under consideration even when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister.
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