SC extends Jayalalithaa’s bail

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court today extended the bail of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa till the Karnataka High Court disposed of her appeal against her conviction and sentencing in a disproportionate assets case by the special court.

Others whose bail has also been extended are Jayalalithaa’s aides N. Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran, and J. Elasvarasi.

The apex court on December 18, 2014 had extended their bail by four months with a direction to High court to hear their appeal and pronounce verdict by April 17.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra also extended till May 12 the time for the high court to pronounce its verdict on Jayalalithaa’s appeal, which was coming to an end on Friday.

The court extended the time after a senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina told the court that after the split verdict on the DMK leader K. Anbazhagan plea, challenging the appointment of G. Bhavani Singh as special public prosecutor by the Tamil Nadu government in the hearing of the appeal by Jayalalithaa by the high court, it is now to be decided by a three-judge bench of the apex court.

It was hoped that the three-judge bench, which is yet to take up the matter, may complete the hearing and decide the matter before May 12.

The apex Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice R. Banumathi referred to the larger bench the plea challenging the Tamil Nadu government appointing Bhavani Singh as Special Public Prosecutor in the hearing of former chief minister Jayalalithaa’s appeal against her conviction and sentencing in a disproportionate assets case after they delivered a divergent verdict.

While Justice Lokur held that the appointment of Bhavani Singh vitiated the hearing of the Jayalalithaa’s appeal before Karnataka High Court, Justice Banumathi said that Bhavani Singh had the authority to continue to appear as Public Prosecutor before the High Court.

The trial court in Bangalore convicted Jayalalithaa on September 27 for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income and sentenced her to four-year jail term and Rs.100 crore fine. The case lasted for about 18 years.

The DA case against Jayalalithaa and three others related to the period 1991 to 1996 involving Rs.66.65 crore when she became chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time.

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