New Delhi: A day prior to a planned swearing-in of V.K. Sasikala as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, a public interest writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to restrain her from taking over as CM till the pronouncement of the verdict in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.
Earlier in the day, a Bench headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose informed Karnataka senior counsel Dushyant Dave that the verdict will be pronounced next week.
The court will rule whether V.K. Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, is guilty of corruption charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the 21-year-old Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.
Anticipating the judgment, Satta Panchayat Iyakkam, a non-governmental organisation, has filed this PIL through its General Secretary Senthil Kumar. The petition is to be mentioned on Tuesday morning for urgent hearing.
The petitioner said the petition is being filed in the interest of People of Tamil Nadu and to maintain the peace in the State in the event of the apex court convicting Sasikala. It said "if Ms. Sasikala is elected as Chief minister by her loyalists and if she was convicted and was forced to resign her post, there is a possibility that riots will erupt all over Tamil Nadu. The State is already facing a desperate situation due to the cyclone, demonetisation and death of Ms Jayalalithaa and hence it is imperative that no fresh crisis is created."
It brought to the court's notice about rumours circulating that the Central Government had interfered In this case for a favourable order with an intention to defame the judiciary and create confusion in the minds of common public. In this situation, the credibility of Judiciary is at stake, it said and prayed for an interim stay on the swearing-in of Sasikala on Tuesday.
In the morning Mr. Dave told the Bench "It is my unpleasant duty to remind the bench about the verdict that was reserved on June 7, 2016 would be pronounced." The bench said the judgment will be pronounced next week without giving any specific date.
Besides Jayalalithaa who died on December 5, 2016, Ms Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran, who was once foster son of Jayalalithaa and Ilavarasi, sister-in-law of Ms Sasikala, are the accused the case. In 2015, the Karnataka High Court acquitted all of them and quashed the trial court's order awarding four years imprisonment to the four accused. Though the charges against Jayalalithaa will abate after her death, the apex court will give a ruling whether charges against the remaining three co-conspirators that they had amassed wealth by misusing the office of public servant will stand or not.
A Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitav Roy had reserved verdict on June 7, 2016. Karnataka had argued that the object of the Prevention of Corruption Act to prevent corruption among politicians and public servants will be set at naught if the High Court judgment was not set aside. It would also send a wrong signal to politicians and public servants that they can go scot free. The High Court in May 11, 2015 had set aside a September 27, 2014 judgment of the trial Judge John Michael D'Cunha in Bengaluru convicting the four accused and awarding them four-year imprisonment.