BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court today sought legal clarifications from Tamil Nadu's Directorate of Vigilance And Corruption (DVAC) on appointment of Bhavani Singh as Special Public Prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others.
As the court took up DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan's appeal praying for setting aside of an order passed by Justice Anand Byrareddy who had rejected a plea seeking discontinuation of Singh as SPP, his counsel C Nagesh said DVAC does not have any power to appoint their own counsel since the Supreme Court has effectively taken away the jurisdiction of Tamil Nadu government.
Nagesh submitted that in the Kanchi Shankaracharya case, the SPP was appointed by Pudhucherry government, not Tamil Nadu government, because Sankararaman was murdered during Jayalalithaa's rule in September 2004.
Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi and 22 others were acquitted in Puducherry in the 2004 murder of Sankararaman, a Kancheepuram temple employee. The Shankaracharya was charged with his murder.
The trial was shifted from a Chengalpet court in Tamil Nadu to Puducherry by the Supreme Court in 2005, based on a plea by Jayendra Saraswathi who alleged that the accused would not get a free and fair trial in Tamil Nadu.
Nagesh also submitted that Singh should not be allowed to continue as the prosecution as it will seriously undermine the fair prosecution of the appeals.
"Can we expect free and fair prosecution if SPP is appointed by Tamil Nadu government which belongs to AIDMK whose leader Jayalalithaa is a convict?" Nagesh said.
Nagesh submitted that since the case was transferred from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka with a view to maintaining free and fair prosecution, the appointment of SPP falls in the jurisdiction of Karnataka government.
The Division Bench, comprising Justices K L Manjunath and S Sujatha, sought clarifications from DVAC whether Singh's appointment as SPP is permissible within the framework of law.
The bench also asked whether the assets case falls in DVAC's jurisdiction and whether there was any such precedents in any other case.
It then directed DVAC, Karnataka government and Singh to make written submissions on their respective stands relating to the writ appeal filed by Anabazhagan, praying for discontinuance of the present SPP in the case.
The bench also posted the matter for tomorrow.
An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu, had ordered that the hearing in the High Court on the appeal, filed by Jayalalithaa challenging her conviction and sentence in the case, be conducted on a day-to-day basis.
On October 17 last year, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa, who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27, saying that hearing on her appeal against conviction in the High Court should be completed in three months from December 18.
The special court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had awarded four years jail term and also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore each on the three other convicts.