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Verdict in Jayalalithaa’s DA case in a week? What it means for Sasikala’s bid as CM

In a dramatic turn of events, the Supreme Court told lawyer Dushyant Dave to give the court a week when Dave reminded the court about the delay in pronouncing the verdict in Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets case.

Her aide and the AIADMK Legislature Party head Sasikala is a co-accused in the case, and the comment comes just days ahead of her swearing in as Chief Minister.

Lawyer for Karnataka, Dushyant Dave said in court on Monday that it was his ‘unpleasant duty’ to remind the court of the delay in the disproportionate assets case.

He also said, “A1 (accused no.1 Jayalalithaa) is no more and the case has already been delayed by 8 months.”

Justice PC Ghose, in his reply, asked the lawyer to ‘wait a week’. The case was heard by a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice PC Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy.

What will it mean for Sasikala?

The immediate fallout could be that the Governor of Tamil Nadu may want to wait for the Supreme Court judgment before swearing Sasikala in. The Governor can mention technical reasons in delaying the swearing in.

For Sasikala, this verdict is crucial as a positive judgment will solidify her standing as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, whereas a conviction will come as a blow to her run to the Chief Minister’s chair.

If she’s convicted, and the charges of the conviction are read along with the Prevention of Corruption Act, she cannot contest elections for 6 years from the date of release from prison. 

The AIADMK is hoping that since the public servant in this case (Jayalalithaa) is no more, the court will acquit the others. They’re also hoping that the Supreme Court will ask Karnataka if the case will still stand. 

A source working closely with the Karnataka prosecution said that if Sasikala is sworn in before the verdict, then Karnataka will tell the court that it was always her ambition to be in public service, and all her actions prior to that should be seen in that light.

There is also a possibility that the Supreme Court will ‘rebate’ (refer back) the case to the Karnataka High Court. In that situation too, Sasikala’s lawyer can ask for the appeals to be heard all over again.

The 20-year-old case names the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, along with Sasikala, her sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew VN Sudhakaran. The allegation against Jaya is that she amassed wealth to the tune of Rs 66 crore during her first term in power, between 1991 and 1996, and Sasikala and the others are accused of helping her.

Sasikala, who’s accused no.2 in the case was found guilty of abetment and criminal conspiracy by a special court in Bengaluru.

While the trial court hearing the case had convicted Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, Karnataka High Court had acquitted the accused in 2015. The case then went to the Supreme Court, which reserved its verdict last year.

Whether the death of the main accused in the case will have a bearing on the verdict remains to be seen.

Source: The News Minute