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Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case: 5 things to know

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has been found guilty in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case by a Special Court in Bangalore, reports said Saturday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has been found guilty in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case by a Special Court in Bangalore, reports said Saturday. The sentencing is expected later in the day. Here’s a quick rundown of what the case is all about. 

  1. The case has been going on for the past 18 years, going back to 1996 when friend-turned-foe Dr Subramanian Swamy filed a complaint against J Jayalalithaa, who was out of power at the time, alleging corruption and accumulation of assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. 
  2. The government at the time was Jayalalithaa’s arch-rival Karunanidhi’s DMK party, which directed the Vigilance department to file an FIR against the former chief minister based on a police investigation instigated by Swamy’s private complaint. Jayalalithaa is accused of acquiring at least Rs 66.65 crore in assets that could not be explained by her known income. Later the same year, a Chennai court added the names of her close aide Sasikala, foster son Sudhakaran and another aide Ilavarasi, to the case. 
  3. Shortly after Jayalalithaa came back to power in 2002, the DMK moved the Supreme Court in early 2003 requesting the case be moved out of the state so that a fair trial could be had. The apex court agreed to the request and transferred the trial to a Special Court in Bangalore, with the damning observation that a ‘fair trial was not going on’ in the Chennai courts. B V Acharya was appointed named Special Public Prosecutor. The case dragged on in the court through 2011, when Jayalalithaa was again elected CM after a five-year break in power when the DMK was back in the saddle. 
  4. In 2012, G Bhavani Singh replaced Acharya as Special Public Prosecutor, but was removed after Anbhazhagan, who had filed the original request for a special court, questioned the appointment. Singh, in turn, challenged the Karnataka government’s decision in the Supreme Court and was reinstated. Shortly after, the special court judge Balakrishna retired, and John Michael Cunha took his place. 
  5. The trial finally concludes on August 28, 2014, an agonising 18 years after it was first filed. On September 27, 2014, the special court found Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption, which means she will have to step down as CM under new guidelines for elected officials. The verdict could have long-term impact on Tamil Nadu, since Jayalalithaa has not groomed a viable successor in case she is found guilty, since she will then have to resign her position. 

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Disproportionate Assets Case

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