Disproportionate assets: Jayalalithaa acquitted, likely to be back as chief minister this week

Published May 11, 2015, 2:15 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 5:44 am IST
Verdict has given me a sense of immense fulfilment, she later said
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister, Jayalalithaa (Photo: AFP/File)
 Former Tamil Nadu chief minister, Jayalalithaa (Photo: AFP/File)

Bengaluru/ChennaiAIADMK leader Jayalalithaa was cleared of corruption charges by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case, a verdict that puts her firmly on the saddle of a political comeback.

It is learnt Jayalalithaa will be sworn in this week as Tamil Nadu chief minister, a post she had to give up last September due to a trial court’s conviction in this case.


The AIADMK general secretary and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa termed the Karnataka High Court decision a “victory for dharma and uprightness” and said it gave her a sense of ‘immense fulfilment’. 

“It has confirmed that I have done no wrong, case foisted by political enemies. I don't consider it as a personal victory, justice has been established, dharma has won”, she added. 

Read: AIADMK members express joy in LS, RS over Jayalalithaa’s acquittal

Pronouncing the verdict in a jam-packed court, Justice C R Kumaraswamy also acquitted AIADMK's chief close aide Sasikala Natarajan and her relatives J Elavarasi and V N Sudhakaran, also Jayalalithaa’s disowned foster son.

As the court proceedings got underway sharp at 11 am, the judge straightway read out the operative part of the verdict on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others, challenging their conviction by the trial court.

Read: Disproportionate assets case: Cleared of charges, ‘Comeback Queen’ Jayalalithaa reigns supreme

Victory celebrations broke out immediately outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai where party workers shook their legs and burst crackers. Celebrations also broke out across Tamil Nadu.

The appeals were filed by Ms Jayalalithaa and three others against the special court Judge Michael D’Cunha’s September 27 verdict sentencing them to four years in jail and imposing a hefty fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.

Jayalalithaa's supporters rejoice outside her residence in Chennai (Photo: ANI Twitter)

Read: Is Tamil Nadu headed for snap polls?

The acquittal will now enable a big political comeback for Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career.

During the hearing of the appeal, Jayalalithaa had contended that the then DMK government-led investigation had deliberately over-valued her assets and she had acquired the property, including jewellery, through legal means.

Read: Jaya sentenced to 4 years imprisonment in disproportionate assets case, fined Rs 100 crores

After meandering for 18 years, the case had reached the climax with the conviction in September last year that brought her down from the pedestal of chief ministership and unseated her from the Assembly.

She has earned the dubious distinction of losing the chief minister's post twice following conviction in graft cases -- in 2001 and 2014.

Jayalalithaa had been charged with accumulating Rs 66.65 crore wealth disproportionate to known sources of her income from 1991-96 in her first term as Chief Minister in the case that has seen many political and legal twists and turns.

Read: J Jayalalithaa first CM to lose post in a graft case

Her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, her niece Ilavarasi and her nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran were held guilty by the trial court.

In perhaps one of the longest legal battles involving a political leader ever since the case was filed, the country has witnessed five Lok Sabha elections and Tamil Nadu three Assembly polls.

AIADMK doctors wing holding a special puja for the release pf J Jayalalithaa in disproportionate assets case, at Pathinetam Padi Karupannasamy Temple in Alagarkoil (Photo: PTI)

Controversy also swirled around the case after Karnataka Advocate General B V Acharya quit as Special Public Prosecutor and Bhavani Singh came in his place in the trial court.

Read: Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa's legal wrangles

Singh continued as SPP in the High Court but the Supreme Court recently annulled his appointment as "bad in law", a verdict that brought back Acharya, who immediately filed a written submission seeking dismissal of the appeals by the AIADMK chief and three others.

The case was transferred to the Bangalore Special Court by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by DMK, which claimed a fair trial cannot be held in Chennai as the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government was in power.

Location: Karnataka