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Gold and watches among Jaya’s dubious wealth  

Along with hundreds of sarees, watches and shoes seized from All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief J Jayalalithaa’s residence in Chennai, there was 27.5 kg of gold jewellery.

A special court in Bangalore found the weight of gold jewellery in Jayalalithaa’s possession on April 30, 1996, was around 20.5 kg.

The prosecution proved seizure of 27.5 kg gold and diamond jewellery, but the court found evidence that Jayalalithaa had 7 kg of jewellery before 1991. “The total weight of gold jewellery found in the possession of Jayalalithaa on April 30, 1996, comes to 20,548 gm,” the judge ruled.

The judge also refused to add the amount the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) quoted for sarees and shoes among Jayalalithaa’s assets, as there were no evidence to establish ownership and period of purchase.

The court observed the prosecution failed to prove that 386 pairs of shoes were in Jayalalithaa’s possession alone and the evidence was not sufficient to determine their value.

Investigators had also seized 914 silk sarees worth Rs 61.13 lakh and 6,195 other sarees worth Rs 27.08 lakh, among other things earlier.

Jayalalithaa’s counsel argued that electoral rolls for 1988, 1993 and 1995 showed, respectively, 32, 13 and 14 persons living in her house at Poes Garden and there was no evidence that all the sarees belonged to her.

The judge ruled though the number was stupefying, Jayalalithaa, a former filmstar, could have a taste for costly sarees. Since there was no evidence that the sarees were bought between 1991 and 1996, the judge refused to treat them as part of her unaccounted wealth.

The judge accepted the valuation made by investigators of Jayalalithaa’s watches at Rs 15.90 lakh. The seized watches include seven valued at Rs 9.03 lakh and another 91 valued at Rs 6.87 lakh. Since Jayalalithaa did not offer any explanation for the watches, the judge ruled the only inference that could be drawn was she bought them between 1991 and 1996.


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