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Jayalalithaa in Bangalore court for assets case

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday appeared in a court here to give her statement in an over a decade-old disproportionate assets case.

This is her first appearance in the court, nearly eight years after the case was shifted to the city from Chennai to ensure free and fair trial.

Jayalalithaa is charged with amassing Rs.66 crore between 1991 and 1996 when she was Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Only a few of her lawyers were allowed inside the court of special judge B.M. Mallikarjunaiah, who held the sitting in Bangalore's central prison complex in view of Jayalalithaa's security needs.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister is provided with Z-plus security.

She landed at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's airport in the city centre and drove in a convoy of vehicles to the prison complex in eastern suburb of Paprappana Agrahara, about 10 km away.

She greeted curious onlookers on the way with her typical 'namaste' and a smile.

Jayalalithaa was directed by the Supreme Court to appear in person in the Bangalore court though she had cited security concerns and her busy schedule as chief minister to seek exemption.

The apex court had rejected her plea to be allowed to give her statement through video conference.

The Parappana Agrahara jail was heavily guarded with around 1,500 Bangalore police personnel and since late Wednesday assembly of five or more people in a 500 metre radius of the complex was banned.

The ban order will be in force till she flies back to Chennai, about 350 km away, soon after making her statement.

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