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No relief for Jaya from appearance before Bengaluru court

Source: PTI
November 04, 2011 15:57 IST
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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's plea for exemption from personal appearance before a trial court in Bengaluru in a disproportionate assets case.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Misra refused to give her relief saying it will set a wrong precedent. "It would tantamount to grant you privilege if we exempt you from appearance," the bench said, adding, "We cannot set a wrong precedence."

The bench, however, asked the Bangalore court to complete recording her statement in a day or two during her next appearances. The bench also asked the court to postpone her next scheduled appearance before it on November 8 and fix a new date for it after All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief's counsel Mukul Rohatgi pleaded for its postponement.

Rohatgi said her personal appearance is not required and she can file her statement in writing, but the court refused to grant the relief.

The trial court has framed 1,339 questions in the case for Jayalalithaa. She had replied to 567 questions on her last appearances before the court on October 20 and 21. Jayalalithaa had moved the apex court on November 1 challenging the trial court's order directing her to appear before it again on November 8.

Challenging the Bengaluru court order of October 21, Jayalalithaa had contended that as per the apex court's direction, she had already appeared twice before it and she could not be summoned again. She pleaded that as per the apex court's order, she was supposed to personally appear before the trial court only once and she could not be forced to appear before it again.

The disproportionate assets case allegedly involves accumulation of assets worth over Rs 66 crore by Jayalalithaa between 1991 and 1996.

The DA case proceedings were shifted out of Tamil Nadu by the apex court during the previous DMK regime on her plea fearing that she might be denied a fair trial in the state then ruled by her arch rival, whom she accused of implicating her in a false case.

She had said the jewellery, silverware and footwear have been "over valued" by Tamil Nadu's Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and that she did not own all the sarees confiscated.

Jayalalithaa disputed that assets had been acquired by various companies, in which she was only a "silent partner" and pleaded her ignorance about them. Her appearance before the trial court followed a Supreme Court order of October 19, rejecting her plea to postpone the hearing against her by a few days.

The apex court had directed the Karnataka government to provide her adequate security during appearance before the trial court on October 20 and 21.

The police had made massive security arrangements for Jayalalithaa, who enjoys 'Z plus' category security status.

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