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Jayalalithaa's bail plea to be heard today

Jayalalithaas bail plea to be heard today

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court will hear today the criminal review petition of jailed former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa for suspension of sentence and bail.

The court registrar has posted the revision petition before the special bench Wednesday on the directive of the state chief justice after the state government declared holiday Oct 6 for the Eid-ul-Azha festival, the date on which the case hearing was adjourned to by the vacation bench earlier in the day.

"The chief justice (D.H. Waghela) has considered our request to advance the hearing to Wednesday, as the court has holidays from Oct 2 up to Oct 6 and since the revision petition was admitted by vacation bench judge Justice Rathnakala earlier in the day but adjourned it to Oct 6 on technical grounds," a defence counsel told IANS here.

Justice Rathnakala will preside over the special bench and hear the arguments of the defence counsel under section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which provides a convicted person statutory right to appeal in an appellate court or a high court for seeking suspension of the sentence and release on bail on a surety bond.

Earlier, senior criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared before the vacation bench on behalf of 66-year-old Jayalalithaa in the case, sought interim relief to her, as the sentence (four years of jail term) was less than 10 years and hence she was entitled for immediate bail.

A special court here Saturday convicted Jayalalithaa in the Rs.66-crore disproportionate assets' case and sentenced her to four years simple imprisonment, with a fine of Rs.100 crore under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Meanwhile, special public prosecutor G. Bhavani Singh confirmed being appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to represent its department of vigilance and anti-corruption in the case as its prosecution counsel.

"I have received intimation from the Tamil Nadu government Tuesday afternoon to be counsel for DVAC counsel in the case. I will appear before the special bench and respond if am asked to by the judge through a notice on the revision petition," Singh told IANS here.

As the trial case was transferred to Bangalore from Madras High Court in 2003 on the directive of the Supreme Court, Singh said the Karnataka government too has to appoint him as its prosecutor as the special court and the high court fall under the state's jurisdiction.

He also admitted that the special bench can take a suo moto action on the revision petition and grant bail on special grounds such as health of the convict and his/her age without hearing the prosecution or overruling the objections filed, if any on merits.

The special bench will also hear the revision petitions of other three convicted - Sasikala Natarajan V.K. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarasi, who were also awarded four-year jail term and fined for Rs.10 crore each by the lower court Saturday.

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