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Jayalalithaa case: SC verdict on counsel on April 15

Jayalalithaa case: SC verdict on counsel on April 15

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will pronounce next week the verdict on DMK leader K. Anbazhagan's plea challenging the appointment of G. Bhavani Singh as special public prosecutor (SPP) by the Tamil Nadu government in the Karnataka High Court.

The Tamil Nadu government had appointed Bhavani Singh as SPP in the hearing of former chief minister Jayalalithaa's challenge to her conviction and sentencing in a corruption case before the high court.

A bench, headed by Justice Madan B.Lokur and Justice R. Banumathi, that reserved its verdict after the conclusion of arguments on Tuesday, said they will pronounce verdict on April 15 and requested the Karnataka High Court not to give any order on Jayalalithaa's appeal till then.

The high court had on March 11 reserved its orders pertaining to Jayalalithaa's plea.

Anbazhagan who had moved the apex court challenging the appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP had contended that the Tamil Nadu government had no jurisdiction in appointing him after the transfer of the case from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka.

The Karnataka government too had opposed the appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP but did not pursue it to its logical conclusion, inviting the apex court's rebuke that its words should have been matched by its deeds.

On the other hand, Jayalalithaa had contended that when a practising lawyer is appointed as special public prosecutor in the trial of a criminal case then the appointment was not co-terminus with the pronouncement of the verdict by the trial court but holds good even at the stage of appeal against the trial court order.

She had told the apex court that the appointment of SPP could not be restricted to the trial court only as a case travels in stages and under the statutory provisions as the case progresses to the higher judiciary in appeal, the public prosecutor remains the same.

A Bangalore court had on September 27 last year convicted Jayalalithaa and her former aides Sasikala Natrajan, V.K. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarasi, in a disproportionate assets case involving Rs. 66.65 crores relating to the period from 1991 to 1966 when she became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time.

Convicting Jayalalithaa for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income, the trial court sentenced her to a four-year jail term and Rs.100 crore fine.

Jayalalithaa and her aides were granted bail by the apex court on October 17 with a rider that she would complete the filing of her appeal before the high court within two months - a direction she complied with.

The apex court had on December 18 extended the bail of Jayalalithaa and the others by four months while asking the high court to decide on her appeal within three months by holding hearing on day-to-day basis and pronounce the verdict by the deadline of April 13.

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