New Delhi – The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed Karnataka’s plea to review the abatement of appeal against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J. Jayalalithaa and recovery of Rs. 100 crore fine in a Disproportionate Assets (DA) case. On Mar. 21, the Karnataka Government moved the review petition in the Court.
The State said the Court’s finding in its Feb. 14, 2017 judgment that the corruption case against Jayalalithaa stood abated with her demise on Dec. 5, 2016 was an “error on the face of the record,” which merits a re-look.
In a scathing judgement, based on an appeal filed by Karnataka, a Bench of Justices comprising P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy made strong observations against Jayalalithaa, albeit posthumously, of how she had criminally conspired with co-accused V.K. Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence to launder ill-gotten wealth. The SC set aside the Karnataka HC’s acquittal of Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarasi in Sept. 2014. All 3 are serving their sentence in the case. The SC, however, concluded that the case against Jaya stood abated with her death.
The Karnataka Govt. had said though a plea for jail sentence had become “infructuous” now, the SC should have nevertheless ordered that the Rs. 100 crore fine imposed on Jaya by the trial Court be paid. The fine should have been recovered from her estate. The latest SC order, in effect, means that the Rs. 100 crore penalty imposed on Jaya cannot be recovered.