HC declines DMK plea to discontinue SPP in Jaya DA case

HC declines DMK plea to discontinue SPP in Jaya DA case

HC declines DMK plea to discontinue SPP in Jaya DA case

The Karnataka High Court today rejected a prayer by DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking discontinuation of Bhavani Singh as Special Public Prosecutor in the special bench hearing appeals by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others challenging their conviction in a disproportionate assets case.

Justice Anand Byrareddy, before whom the petition came up for hearing, directed Anbazhagan and the Karnataka government to approach the Supreme Court for clarification on the issue of procedure of the appointment of the SPP as it was improper for him to interpret its order relating to the bail plea filed by Jayalalithaa.

"Since the Supreme Court in its order on giving bail to Jayalalithaa was silent on the issue of procedure of appointing the SPP, this court wouldn't like to interpret the apex court's order,"  Justice Byrareddy observed.

He also said Anbazhagan and the Karnataka government can seek clarification from the apex court on the issue of procedure of appointment of the SPP.

On January 14, Justice Abdul Nazir had referred back Anbazhagan's petition to the special bench hearing appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against their conviction and four years jail term awarded by a special court in the case on September 27, 2014.

Justice Nazir had said that Chief Justice D H Waghela, would, however, pass orders on allotting Anbazhagan's petition. Thereafter, the Chief Justice of Karnataka allotted the petition to Justice Byrareddy.

When the matter came up, senior counsel for Anbazhagan, C V Nagesh argued that Singh was not appointed by the Karnataka government as per the Supreme Court guidelines, but by Chennai-based Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), under the control of the AIADMK government Anbazhagan alleged Singh was "sailing" with the accused and not presenting the facts properly as the trial court also had observed in its order relating to the conviction of Jayalalithaa.

However, Justice Byrareddy over-ruled the argument, saying, "The honourable court has just expressed dissatisfaction over the conduct of Singh. The mere expression of dissatisfaction cannot be construed as a fact to establish his misconduct."

Karnataka Advocate General Ravi Varma Kumar said the government had not appointed Singh as the SPP as the matter is not under its purview.

"The government has nothing to do with Singh's appointment as the issue does not fall under the state government's purview but under the Supreme Court's purview, and it is left to it," Kumar said.

L N Rao, counsel for DVAC, submitted that since it had appointed Singh, he should be allowed to continue to represent the case until the Supreme Court clarifies on the appointment issue, in case the High Court issues a direction in this regard.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, had ordered that hearing in the High Court on the appeal filed by Jayalalithaa be conducted on a day-to-day basis and completed in three months from December 18.

Jayalalithaa and three others were held guilty of corruption and awarded four years jail term by the special court here, which had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.