Jayalalitha case: State on backfoot over removal of prosecutor

Jayalalitha case: State on backfoot over removal of prosecutor

Didn't object to appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP: SC

Jayalalitha case: State on backfoot over removal of prosecutor

The Karnataka government, on Monday, found itself on the backfoot when the Supreme Court noted that it did not raise any objection to the name of G Bhavani Singh at the time his appointment as special public prosecutor (SPP) in February in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha in a Bangalore court.

After perusing the original records produced by the Karnataka High Court registry, a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde pointed out, “we did not find any objection to the name of Singh in the files, instead the State government offered him “very high remuneration”.

The court also acknowledged that the name of Singh was cleared by the then acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, even though his name did not figure among the four persons recommended for the post. Singh was appointed on February 2.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing the AIADMK, accused the State government of “stalling” the trial court proceedings by removing the special public prosecutor in order to “keep the pot boiling” till the general elections in 2014 as a new team of prosecutors would require months together to peruse 34,000 pages, including exhibits, of case records.

He submitted that the prosecutors and trial judge could not be allowed to be changed at the whims of private respondent, DMK leader K Anbazhagan.

“The Karnataka government is playing into the hands of the respondent (DMK leader), who has assumed the role of moral authority,” he said, asserting they are political allies.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for the State government, submitted that he wanted to respond to the submission of the petitioner in a detailed manner.

The court, after hearing the counsel for the Tamil Nadu chief minister, adjourned the matter to Tuesday. The removal of the special public prosecutor has become controversial with the AIADMK leader approaching the apex court for the second time in a fortnight, imputing political motives. She claimed that it would delay the conclusion of the 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The Karnataka government had, on September 6, withdrawn its August 26 notification removing Singh from the case, after it was pointed out by her that the decision was taken without due consultation with the Chief Justice of the 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 the due process.

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 the prosecution having initiated its final arguments. The case was transferred to Bangalore in 2003 on an order passed by the apex court.

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