The Supreme Court granted bail to Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Friday in disproportionate assets case, after she spent 21 days in Karnataka jail. Along with Jayalalithaa, her aide Sasikala and two others have also been granted bail.
On September 27, Jayalalitha had been found guilty by Karnataka special court in the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case and had been sentenced to four year imprisonment and charged a penalty of Rs 100 crore.
After the Karnataka High Court had rejected the plea for bail by the convicted AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha on October 7, she had moved to Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging the verdict of HC for refusing her bail plea.
The recent Supreme Court orders in corruption cases had been referred by the bench while ruling against Jayalalitha’s plea. The court had dismissed the pleas for granting the bail and suspending the four-year imprisonment, saying the Supreme Court had taken a tough stand against corruption cases in recent times and had called “corruption a violation of human rights.”
Observing that there were no grounds to suspend the sentence, the court had declared, “In view of the clear observation of the apex court that corruption is a violation of human rights, this is not a fit case for suspension and bail. Bail plea is liable to be dismissed.”
Though the court mentioned that it is possible to suspend the sentence in cases which is less than seven years, it had also mentioned that it is not an absolute right. Also, the court had pointed out that there were evidences in Jayalalitha’s case. It said Jayalalitha held the “highest post” in the state and committed “a very serious crime” which “is not a small offence.” Citing a Supreme Court observation, court had said, “Conviction after a trial means a person is assumed to be corrupt till exonerated by a higher court.”
Meanwhile, Jayalalitha’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani had cited the Lalu Prasad case in the fodder scam and mentioned that during his case, the high court had refused bail whereas it was granted by the Supreme Court. Regarding Lalu case, the court had denied the submission and said that Lalu Prasad had spent 10 months in jail before being granted bail by the apex court.
Though Jethmalani assured the judge Jayalalitha would abide by any condition put forth for bail, and noted, as she was a former chief minister, she would not disappear or escape from the country, the High Court denied the plea.
Apart from Jayalalitha, three of her associates, Sasikala Natarajan, her nephew VN Sudhakaran and her sister in-law J Illavarasi, were also convicted and jailed for four years in the criminal case. SC has granted bail for them too, who had filed separately criminal revision petitions through their counsels for suspension of the sentence and sought bail.