Judgment day today as potboiler heads for climax in Tamil Nadu

Supreme Court set to pronounce verdict in Sasikala case, which is expected to pave the way for new govt formation

Published: 14th February 2017 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2017 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: In what is being interpreted as a potential breakthrough to the political stalemate in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday would pronounce its verdict in the disproportionate assets case in which AIADMK chief VK Sasikala is an accused.

The Governor, according to reports, had cited the pending verdict as a reason for not calling either Sasikala or the incumbent Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to form the government. 

Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy would pronounce the verdict at 10:30 am on Tuesday. There is a possibility of a split verdict as the judges are expected to deliver separate judgements.

AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala addressing the
media at Poes Garden; (right) Caretaker CM O
Panneerselvam on the way to the Secretariat on
Monday | ROMANI AGARWAL & Martin Louis 

A split verdict, however, could delay the judgment further as the matter could be heard afresh by a third judge. Alternatively, the bench could also uphold the High Court verdict, or reverse it, or re-appreciate the entire evidence which may lead to a fresh re-trial. The bench can also remand the matter to the High Court for fresh consideration.

If the apex court confirms her acquittal, as ordered by the High Court, there is no impediment for Sasikala to become the Chief Minister. However, if convicted, she would be barred from contesting in polls for six years. Consequently, she would be ineligible to be the Chief Minister as the Constitution mandates election to Assembly within six months of assuming office.

Meanwhile, on the political front, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy pointed fingers at his party colleagues and said that they were responsible for prolonging the crisis in the State. “As far as I know, the Union government has no role to play in the Governor’s stand.

But what I heard is that there can be certain Union Ministers who are taking undue interest in what’s happening in Tamil Nadu. I can’t name them,” he said in an interview to a TV channel.

The High Court had reversed the 2014 verdict of the special court in Bengaluru which had convicted and sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of `100 crore.

The ruling would come on batch of appeals filed by the Karnataka government against the High Court verdict acquitting prime accused Jayalalithaa and her close aide and now AIADMK chief Sasikala. Besides Jayalalithaa, against whom the proceedings would be abated due to her demise on December 5 last year, Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi are accused of allegedly amassing disproportionate assets. 

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