N Sathiya Moorthy in Madras
Three co-convicts of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa have moved the Madras high court seeking a fresh hearing in the two Tansi land deal cases.
T R Srinivasan, K Karpurasundarapandian (both IAS officers) and S Nagarajan want their appeals in both the cases heard alongside those filed by Jayalalithaa and her live-in confidante Sasikala.
Together with the two counter-appeals filed by the erstwhile Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, there are 13 appeals in the case, of which the high court has taken up only the four relating to Jayalalithaa and Sasikala.
Meanwhile, a group of senior lawyers, including Nalini Chidambaram, wife of former Union minister P Chidambaram, have submitted a memorandum seeking a division bench to hear the cases.
"This is the first time that an incumbent chief minister is involved in a corruption case," they have said in their memorandum, referring to past precedents where a division bench was constituted to hear 'sensitive cases'.
Questions have also been raised about the propriety of the high court bunching together Jayalalithaa's appeals in the 'Pleasant Stay Hotel' case, in which she was convicted, along with the
Tansi case appeals.
"Barring the litigants in the Tansi and hotel cases, the 'cause of action' are divergent and different," a senior advocate pointed out. "How the court registry thought it fit to club them together is a mystery."
The fast-tracking of Jayalalithaa's appeals in the high court assumes significance because a larger bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear in the first week of September a petition challenging her appointment as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
While the SC case mainly addresses the legality of a person disqualified from contesting elections becoming chief minister, an acquittal for Jayalalitha in the cases now taken up by the high court before hand, could render the SC case infructuous, senior lawyers said.
Hearing on Jaya's appeal in Tansi case delayed
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