The Karnataka government moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking a review of its verdict by which it had abated proceedings in the disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on February 14, had convicted Jayalalithaa’s aide V K Sasikala and two others in the case while abating the proceedings against Jayalalithaa as a result of her death in December, 2016.
The court had, however, made clear that the fine imposed on her can be recovered.
The apex court had upheld the special trial court verdict which had found disproportionate assets worth Rs 53.60 crore, which Jayalalithaa and the three others could not account for. The Central Bureau of Investigation had alleged that the unaccounted wealth was to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore.
In its review plea, the Karnataka government has contended that the apex court’s February 14 decision to abate the proceedings against Jayalalithaa was an “error apparent on the face of record”.
It said a criminal appeal in graft cases is different as there is allegation of acquisition of disproportionate assets by a public servant.
The plea said that the abatement of proceedings was erroneous as there is no provision either in the Constitution or the Supreme Court rules for it.
Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four year jail term along with Rs 100 crore fine by the trial court in Bengaluru.
Sasikala has been sentenced to serve a jail term of around three-and-half years out of four years awarded by the trial court as she has already spent about six months in prison.
The conviction of Sasikala’s two relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi were also upheld by the apex court and they were directed to surrender forthwith to serve their four-year term.
The apex court had set aside the Karnataka High Court order acquitting all the four accused and had “restored in toto” the trial court’s decision in the 19-year-old case.
Speaking to HT, B V Acharya, Special Public Prosecutor, said: “It has been decided to challenge the abatement as the matter was only awaiting judgment and had gone past the argument stage.”
Acharya said it was not just a question of a technicality. He said if the Supreme Court restores the trial court’s judgment in toto then the government would be able to recover the fine imposed on Jayalalithaa of Rs 100 crore apart from recovering property.
“As this is a case of accruing wealth disproportionate to known source of income, our plea is cancel the abatement,” Acharya said.
(With PTI inputs)