Jayalalithaa to move Karnataka HC for bail
CHENNAI: Lawyers for jailed AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa will move the Karnataka High Court on Monday for bail for her while they were also finalising a strategy for seeking a stay on her conviction and sentence in the disproportionate assets case.
“We will be filing a bail application in the Karnataka High Court on Monday,” B. Kumar, Senior Counsel for the 66-year-old leader, told PTI on Sunday, a day after a Special court sentenced her to four years in jail that immediately disqualified her from being an MLA.
But it may be taken up only on Tuesday when there is a scheduled hearing by a vacation bench because the high court will observe holidays from September 29 to October 6 for Dasara.A battery of lawyers were giving final touches to their legal strategy in seeking immediate relief for Jayalalithaa, who has been convicted by Special Judge John Michael D’Cunha and sentenced to four years imprisonment in the Rs. 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
Since the sentencing was for a period more than three years, only the high court can grant bail in Jayalalithaa’s case.Mr. Kumar said a team of lawyers were holding discussions on filing a petition seeking stay of conviction and also the sentence awarded to Jayalalithaa in the 18-year old case.
The criminal revision petition is one of the options before the lawyers who would like to secure an immediate stay on the conviction and the sentencing.A stay on the conviction, which superior courts are said to be normally reluctant to grant in a corruption case, would nullify the disqualification as MLA which the AIADMK leader has suffered with yesterday’s judgement.
Unless the conviction is overturned by a superior court, Jayalalithaa runs the risk of being barred from contesting elections for 10 years — four years when she is in jail and six years after release.Under a Supreme Court judgement of last year, any MLA or MP would stand automatically disqualified if he or she is convicted and sentenced to an imprisonment of a period not less than two years.
Before this judgement, Section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act, which was stuck down by the Supreme Court, protected an elected representative from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months.
In a rare case, the Supreme Court had stayed the conviction by the Punjab and Haryana High Court of culpable homicide in a case involving former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu.
The advocates representing Jayalalithaa have secured the copy of the judgement delivered by the special Court yesterday which also imposed a staggering fine of Rs. 100 crore.The Court also found guilty three others — Jayalalithaa’s close associate Sasikala her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi, who were handed four year jail term and a fine of Rs 10 crore each.
The Rs. 100 crore fine is the highest imposed on any politician by the special judge who heard the case of Rs. 66.65 crore disproportionate assets acquired during Jayalalithaa’s first term as Chief Minister between 1991 and 1996.
Convicting her, special judge D’Cunha said the prosecution had proved beyond doubt that the accused had acquired assets worth Rs. 53.64 crore unlawfully.
Jayalalithaa appealed for leniency from the judge claiming that the case against her was politically motivated.
She also sought leniency on the ground that she was suffering from illness and stress.