As the Karnataka High Court on Monday acquitted AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case, it a happy time for her supporters all over the state of Tamil Nadu and a big relief for CM Panneerselvam.
“Justice has won,” the former Tamil Nadu chief minister gloated hours after a special bench in Bengaluru acquitted her in the Rs.66.65 crore case in which she was sentenced to four years in jail by a lower court.
The charges were not “sustainable”, Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy said in the much-awaited verdict in the case in which Jayalalithaa, 67, was also fined a whopping Rs.100 crore and confiscated her assets.
But now the high court judge acquitted Jayalalithaa’s three co-convicts who too were sentenced to four years in jail and fined Rs.10 crore each. They included close aide Sasikala Natarajan.
The lower court was told to release Jayalalithaa’s confiscated assets.
“The judgement signifies that justice has won,” said Jayalalithaa, who stepped down as chief minister after her earlier conviction. “It is not a victory for me but a victory for justice.”
Within minutes of the judgement, AIADMK leaders, including Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, rushed to Jayalalithaa’s residence. Outside and all over Chennai and Tamil Nadu, boisterous celebrations erupted.
Political analyst Gnani Shankaran told IANS that the judgement would place Jayalalithaa on a strong wicket ahead of the 2016 elections in Tamil Nadu.
The AIADMK may even go for a snap election, he said.
AIADMK sources said Jayalalithaa was set to return as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister. By law, she will have to get elected to the assembly within six months.
DMK leader and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi raised questions about the judgement.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Subramanian Swamy, who enjoys frosty ties with the AIADMK leader, threatened to appeal against the verdict.
None of this made any difference to the mass of Jayalalithaa supporters all across Tamil Nadu who burst firecrackers, danced, whistled, gave away sweets. In all 237 people committed suicide after the trial court’s verdict.(IANS)