HC upholds acquittal of ex-AIADMK minister in wealth case

The prosecution case was that Eswaramurthy as Minister of Khadi and Village Industries from May 1993 to May 1996 had acquired property worth Rs 31.35 lakh, disproportionate to his known sources of income in his name and that of the others.

On July 23 2004, the Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-special Judge, Erode, had acquitted Eswaramurthy, his wife Sujatha, sister Tamil Selvi and her husband R Sathasivam.

The vigilance and Anti-Corruption Police inspector of Erode division had filed an appeal challenging the acquittal.

Arguing against the acquittal of Eswaramurthy and others, the government advocate said the court had erred in holding that the former minister's relatives had individual income to purchase those property, when no independent evidence was adduced to substantiate the same.

Dismissing the appeal, Justice Aruna Jagadeesan said there was no material or evidence by prosecution witnesses to infer that the other accused were holding the property standing in their names as 'benami' of the first accused (Eswaramurthy).

The judge said on analysis of evidence it could not be said that the findings of the trial court was either manifestly wrong or perverse.

The prosecution could not be said to have successfully proved its case, the Judge said.

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