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May 30, 2000
Jayalalitha acquitted in colour TV scam case
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha and two others were acquitted in the Rs 101.6 million colour TV scam case by a special judge in Madras on Tuesday.
Jayalalitha's close aide Sasikala Natarajan and Sasikala's relative S R Bhaskaran were also acquitted.
Pronouncing the judgment, special judge-II V Radhakrishnan held that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the three beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge, however, convicted seven others, including former local administration minister T M Selvaganapathy, and sentenced them to undergo five years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each.
Besides Selvaganapathy, those convicted were: former chief secretary N Haribhaskar, Indian Administrative Service officials H M Pandey and M Sathiyamoorthy, the then minister's personal assistant K Janarthanam, TV agents S Duraisamy and S Muthukumaraswamy.
The judge held that the prosecution had proved all the charges against them.
Reacting to the verdict, Jayalalitha said, ''I have nothing to say.''
The prosecution case was that there were irregularities to the tune of Rs 101.6 million in the purchase of 45,302 colour television sets, meant for local bodies during the previous AIADMK regime.
According to the crime branch (CB-CID), which probed the case, the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy and paid a price higher than the market value for the TV sets. The TV sets were purchased in violation of the rules and procedures and the accused obtained pecuniary advantage to the tune of Rs 101.6 million.
The accused were charged under Sections 120-b (criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 109 (abetment) of the IPC and section 13(1)(c), section 13 (2) and section 13 (1)(d)(ii) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The chargesheet in the case was filed on January 29, 1998 and the trial began on December 28, 1998. Eighty prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses were examined and cross-examined in the case.
Jayalalitha was arrested on December 7, 1996 and released on bail on January 3,1997 in the case.
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