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SC reserves verdict on Jayalalithaa’s plea in DA case

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SC reserves verdict on Jayalalithaa’s plea in DA case
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on the issue of appointment and sacking of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G Bhawani Singh in Karnataka in a disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

The apex court will also decide the plea of the AIADMK chief seeking extension of the tenure of the judge trying the case and is scheduled to retire on September 30.

A bench comprising justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde concluded the hearing in which DMK general secretary K Anbalagan opposed the plea of Ms. Jayalalithaa saying she and other accused were allegedly responsible for the protracted trial in the 17-year-old case.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for DMK leader, submitted that those people who were responsible for delaying the proceedings in the case were now knocking the doors of the apex court for speedy completion of the trial.

He also backed the line of Karnataka Government and said Ms. Jayalalithaa’s plea for continuing with the trial judge after his retirement cannot be accepted as it would be contrary to the statute.

Vikas Singh said Mr. Bhawani Singh was appointed without consultation with the state government and the SPP can be removed at any time if he fails to meet the doctrine of pleasure theory.

“There is no fixed tenure for SPP and he can be withdrawn by the state government in terms of doctrine of pleasure theory,” he submitted.

However, Ms. Jayalalithaa’s counsel Shekhar Naphade submitted that the opposite side has been attempting to create smokescreen of prejudice to delay the trial.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for the Karnataka Government, had on Tuesday opposed the plea of Ms. Jayalalithaa on the SPP and for extension of the tenure of the trial court judge.

The bench had also deliberated on the political overtones on the issue of the appointment and sacking Mr. Bhawani Singh as the SPP.

“Was there (in Karnataka) the same government? When did the government change?,” the bench had on Tuesday asked.

The Attorney General had said the new government came on May 8 this year but the appointment of Mr. Singh was done without any consultation between the state government and the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court.

The bench, which had perused the records, had noted Mr. Singh, who has been sacked as SPP in the case, was appointed without any objection by Karnataka government to conduct the trial in the 17-year-old case.

The court had on September 20 called for the entire record relating to the controversy surrounding the appointment and sacking of Mr. Singh for its perusal to ascertain the reasons to drop him from conducting the proceedings.

Ms. Jayalalithaa’s counsel had alleged that removal of Mr. Singh came at a time when the criminal procedure in the case was at the final stage and was done with a political motive.

“It has been done to keep the pot boiling till the election for 2014,” he had said.

”...The aim has been to delay the proceedings as the judge trying the case is going to retire on September 30,” he had said.

Mr. Singh was appointed as the SPP following the resignation of former Advocate General B V Acharya who was the prosecutor in the case from February 2005 to August 2012.

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