New Delhi: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is likely to move the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging the Karnataka High Court`s order refusing bail to her in the 18-year-old Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.
Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani is expected to lead the team of lawyers who will argue against the High Court order denying bail to the AIADMK supremo.
Other convicts in the case, Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala, VN Sudhakaran, the disowned foster son of the former chief minister, and Elavarasi may also approach the apex court.
Justice AV Chandrashekhara had denied relief to Jayalalithaa yesterday, saying that there are "no grounds” to give her bail.
Quoting various cases of the Supreme Court under Prevention of Corruption Act, the court said, “In view of clear observation of the apex court that corruption is a violation of human rights, this is not a fit case for suspension and bail.”
The court not only refused to grant her bail, but also declined to stay the sentence of four-year imprisonment and Rs 100 crore penalty imposed on her in the case.
Importantly, the order by Justice Chandrashekhara came after special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh told the court he had no objection to granting conditional bail to Jayalalithaa.
In his submission, Jethmalani had strongly pleaded for immediate bail to the 66-year-old leader, citing the Supreme Court’s ruling granting relief to former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad in the so-called fodder scam.
The court did not accept the submission, with the judge noting that Prasad had spent 10 months in jail before being granted bail by the apex court.
The noted lawyer also pleaded for suspension of the sentence by the special court which sent her to four years in jail and pleaded for suspension of the sentence pending appeal under Section 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under the section, pending an appeal by a convicted person, an appellate court may order the execution of the sentence to be suspended and the release of the person on bail.
Jethmalani assured the judge that his client (Jayalalithaa) would abide by any condition put forth for bail, as she was a former chief minister and would not disappear or escape from the country, however, the court went ahead to deny bail to her.
Jayalalithaa is lodged in a Bangalore prison since September 27 when a special court had convicted her in the disproportionate assets case and sentenced her to four years` simple imprisonment, with a fine of Rs 100 crore under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi were also sentenced to four years in jail, besides a fine of Rs 10 crore each.
The rejection of the bail plea resulted in AIADMK supporters expressing their anger and emotions over the ruling.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has reportedly assessed the situation on ground with his senior colleagues and senior state government officials. He has appealed to public to co-operate in maintaining law and order in the state.
With agency inputs