Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Friday questioned in the Supreme Court an order issued by Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, “condemning” his predecessor’s decision to appoint G Bhavani Singh as special public prosecutor (SPP) in the disproportionate assets case against her in Bangalore.
The removal of the SPP has become controversial with the AIADMK leader approaching the apex court, imputing political motives behind the decision. Besides, she claimed that it would delay the conclusion of case as the trial judge was set to retire on September 30.
The Karnataka government had on September 6 withdrawn its August 26 notification removing Singh from the case after it was pointed out by her that the decision was taken without due consultation of the Chief Justice of High Court.
After the state government approached High court Chief Justice D H Waghela, a formal order was issued on September 14 stating that Singh was appointed without following due process. It was contended that Singh was not one of the four names recommended for the post.
Singh was appointed on February 2. Perusing the letter issued by Justice Waghela before a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing the TN CM, asked, “How can the chief justice (of HC) say that the previous CJ passed order in a mechanical manner?”
“How could the previous chief justice be condemned,” he asked. The bench tried to intervene and urged the counsel to spare the chief justice.
The counsel, however, did not relent. “It (CJ) is an institution and I will say it. It makes no difference to us,” he said.
Naphade urged the court to recall the original record relating to appointment of Singh, contending that the appointment of new prosecutor would further drag the case. “Why should the petitioner suffer (delay),” he asked.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for the Karnataka government, produced the formal order issued by the chief justice of high court removing Singh.
The court asked Jayalalitha to amend her petition in light of the fresh order issued by the chief justice of high court and posted the matter for further hearing on Monday.
The case relating to amassing of disproportionate assets by Jayalalitha to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during 1991 and 1996 when she was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had reached its fag end with prosecution having initiated its final arguments.