New Delhi: In a relief to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Monday quashed the withdrawal of Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh in a disproportionate assets case against her.
The apex court also asked the state high court to consider giving, in consultation with the state government, an extension to the presiding judge in the case who is retiring Monday upon his superannuation.
The apex court bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan said, "We recommend that the Karnataka High Court in consultation with Karnataka state government to consider to extend the superannuation of Judge Balakrishna", given the peculiar circumstances and voluminous evidence in the case.
Jayalalithaa and two other co-accused in the case had contended that when the trial in the 18-year old case was nearing conclusion, the Congress government in Karnataka at the behest of her political rivals in Tamil Nadu politics, withdrew SPP Bhavani Singh from the case when he was in the third day of his final arguments.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had said that following the withdrawal of SPP Bhavani Singh and trial court judge`s retirement, leaving the case inconclusive, the new public prosecutor and the trial court judge would take time to familiarise themselves with the case. The evidence alone in the case runs into 34,000 pages.
DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan had moved the Karnataka High Court, seeking the removal of SPP Bhavani Singh. At that point of time, Singh was withdrawn by the state government.
Though he was brought back after Jayalaitha moved the apex court, challenging the procedure of his removal, he was again withdrawn from the case after consultation with the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, as was provided for in the earlier order of the apex court.