SC asks Jaya to appear before Bangalore court

Rejecting Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa`s plea, the Supreme Court ordered her to appear before a Special Court in Bangalore on Thursday.

New Delhi/Bangalore: Rejecting Tamil Nadu
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa`s plea, the Supreme Court today
ordered her to appear before a Special Court in Bangalore
tomorrow for a scheduled hearing in the disproportionate
assets case.

The AIDMK leader, who pleaded for postponing the hearing
in the case against her by a few days, also failed in her
attempts to get the venue of the proceedings shifted closer to
airport with both the Apex court and the Special Court turning
down her last minute plea. The Special Court also ordered
Jayalalithaa to be present tomorrow.

An Apex court bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and
Dipak Misra while giving its direction after Karnataka assured
it of providing foolproof security asked Jayalalithaa how
could a public figure like her remain away from people after
she sought a postponement over security issues.

"You are public figure. How can you remain away from
people?" the bench remarked when senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi
persisted with his apprehensions over her safety.

Jayalalithaa had contended that the Karnataka government
had failed to provide sufficient security.
Karnataka`s Chief Secretary and its Director General of
Police both filed affidavits assuring the apex court of
foolproof security measures in tune with her Z plus category
status and elite National Security Guards(NSG) cover.

The bench turned down Jayalalithaa`s plea to at least
shift the venue of her trial closer to the airport. Her
counsel said since the trial court, located in a central
prison, is 65 km from the airport her safety could be rendered

"What more do you want? The helipad has been prepared.
Once the hearing is over, fly back home," the bench observed.

In Bangalore, Special Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah directed
Jayalalithaa to be present at the court for recording her
statement and police to ensure proper security arrangements.
The judge rejected her plea to hold the hearing at Jakkur
Flying School near the airport.
The proceedings are being shifted to a court hall located
close to the Parappana Agrahara central jail premises on the
city outskirts from the City Civil Court complex in the heart
of the city in view of security cover needed for her.

A tight security blanket has been thrown around the jail.

The Bangalore City Police said prohibitory orders would
be in force around the jail from this evening till tomorrow.

The trial of the disproportionate assets case, allegedly
involving accumulation of assets worth over Rs 66 crore by
Jayalalithaa when she was chief minister between 1991 and
1996, was shifted earlier to Bangalore by the apex court on
her fears that she might be denied a fair trial in Tamil Nadu
due to state`s erstwhile DMK government.

The AIADMK chief had accused DMK of implicating her in
false cases.

Notwithstanding assurances by Karnataka government,
Rohtagi submitted before the Apex court that Jayalalithaa was
"under a threat perception" and hence sought deferring of the
hearing by at least a few days.

The court in its response said, "Please be reasonable.
We are also concerned about the security. After these
affidavits and the Supreme Court`s directions, there cannot be
any fears."

The apex court reiterated that the state shall provide
adequate security to Jayalalithaa from the time of her arrival
till her departure to Tamil Nadu.

Judge Mallikarjunaiah rejected an interim application
filed by Jayalalithaa`s counsel A Kandaswamy praying for
modification of the court`s October 17 order to conduct the
trial at Parappana Agrahara and pleading for Jakkur Flying
school to be the venue.

Kandaswamy submitted that the special court existing in
Parappana Agrahara was not appropriate from the security angle
as it is located in a congested area and "since painting work
is going on, it is very suffocating".

Taking serious objection to this, Special Public
Prosecutor B V Acharya pointed out such grounds were being
made out "just to protract the proceedings and the Karnataka
government has already given an undertaking to ensure adequate
security in a venue decided by the court".


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