Karnataka to file appeal against Jayalalithaa's acquittal

The Karnataka government, sore over the high court's verdict that set aside the trial court sentence that gave Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa three years in jail and a Rs100 crore penalty in the disproportionate assets case, has decided to file an appeal against Justice Kumaraswamy's acquittal of the Tamil Nadu CM (See: Jayalalithaa back as Tamil Nadu CM, for a fifth time).

Karnataka government, now the main prosecuting authority to deal with the case, after the Supreme Court transferred it to Bengaluru from Tamil Nadu for a ''fair'' trial, meanwhile received moral support from opposition parties in Tamil Nadu.

The state government had a 90-day deadline to file the appeal

Besides Jayalilathaa, the Karnatak High court had set aside the trial court's sentencing of three others to four years in jail while allowing the appeals by all the four.

Special court judge Michael D Cunha had on 27 September 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of owning assets worth Rs60 crore, which the judge found was disproportionate to her known income. Along with Jayalalithaa the judge also convicted three of her ''accomplices'' for corruption and awarded a four-year jail term.

Jayalilathaa has been asked to pay a fine of Rs100 crore besides serving a four-year jail term and  disqualification as an MLA that divested her of chief ministership (Jayalalithaa to serve 4 years in jail, pay Rs100 crore fine in assets case).http://www.domain-b.com/economy/Govt/20140927_assets_case.html

Cunha had also slapped a fine of Rs10 crore each on three other convicts.

However, the Karnataka high court had held that the trial court judgement and findings suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, and gave a clean chit to Jayalalithaa.

The single bench judge justice Kumaraswamy also quashed the order of the trial court relating to confiscation of the properties both movable and immovable and acquitted Jayalalithaa and three others of ''all the charges levelled against them.''

In his 919-page judgement, the judge had held that the unaccountable portion of the assets, it at all, ''is relatively small. In the instant case, the disproportionate asset is less than 10% and it is within permissible limit.''

''The percentage of disproportionate assets is 8.12%,'' the judge had said.

Tamil Nadu opposition party DMK had sought filing an appeal against acquittal while the original petitioner Subramanian Swamy had said he would move the Supreme Court if Karnataka does not challenge the high court verdict.

Karnataka special public prosecutor BV Acharya, who argued the case for the state said he was happy that the ''cabinet has taken the decision on the basis of merit.''

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu today welcomed Karnataka government's decision to appeal against chief minister J Jayalalithaa's acquittal, with DMK terming it as the "right" step by the ruling Congress.

"Karnataka has taken the right step. It is a welcome one," party spokesperson T K S Elangovan told reporters here.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President M Karunanidhi, besides other leaders, had been urging Karnataka government to appeal against Jayalalithaa's acquittal.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief E V K S Elangovan lauded his party-led government in Karnataka for "quickly deciding" on approaching the apex court with an appeal before the 90-day deadline.