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SC axes Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa plea in assets case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed a plea by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa seeking that the trial in a disproportionate assets case be put on hold till a Bangalore court decides the ownership of the immovable assets alleged to be hers.

Jayalalithaa
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. File pic

"We find no merit, dismissed," said the bench of Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, dealing a blow to the chief minister.

The trial over the disproportionate assets - valued at Rs.66 crore - has been going on in a special court in Bangalore since 2010.

Appearing for Jayalalithaa, counsel Shekhar Naphade assailed the special court for committing impropriety by not carrying out the orders of the Madras High Court to first decide the title of the immovable assets shown to be that of Jayalalithaa.

He also assailed the Karnataka High Court for taking "lightly" the special court defying the direction of the Madras High Court.

Pointing to Tamil Nadu's vigilance and anti-corruption department moving the special court for withdrawing an earlier application for the attachment of the immovable assets, Naphade said it was "a clear attempt to over-reach the order of this (apex) court and a grave contempt".

Counsel for the vigilance and anti-corruption department told the court that the special court in Bangalore has not refused to comply with the orders of the Madras High Court but has only said that it would hear claims over the immovable properties before the final arguments in the disproportionate assets case commence.

The department has opposed Jayalalithaa's plea seeking stay of the trial court proceedings in the disproportionate assets case till the matter regarding the ownership of the immovable assets shown to be hers was settled.

The department in its response to Jayalalithaa's plea told the apex court that "since the petition for attachment (before the special court in Bangalore) is being withdrawn, the special leave petition (by Jayalalithaa and others) will now become infructuous".

It said the plea by Jayalalithaa and others was "only a device to postpone the hearing" before the Bangalore special court.

Jayalalithaa had moved the apex court challenging the May 20 order of the Karnataka High Court.

By the said order, the Karnataka High Court had rejected her plea seeking direction to the Bangalore special court, trying the disproportionate assets case, to first decide the claim of M/s Lex Property Developer Pvt. Ltd. and others over the assets being attributed to her and then take up the disproportionate assets case against her.

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