CHENNAI: In a major redressal for firebrand MDMK general secretary Vaiko, Madras High Court on Monday relieved him from the 12-year-old POTA case in which he was incarcerated for nearly 18 months in Vellore.
A Division Bench comprising Justices S Rajeswaran and T Mathivanan, allowing the appeals filed by Vaiko and six others, set aside a 2004 order of the Poonamallee special court dismissing the state governmentseeking withdrawal of the cases.
In 2002, the cases were booked by the ‘Q’ branch of the state police against Vaiko and others under the notorious POTA for speaking in support of the LTTE. Along with others, he was arrested and incarcerted for nearly 18 months before being released on bail.
The special court at Poonamallee framed charges and the trial began in 2003. However, subsequently the Union Government repealed the controversial law. Also a review committee, set up by the central government, considered a petition filed by Vaiko and observed that prosecution under POTA was not necessary. The committee also directed the state government to withdraw the cases.
Subsequently, the state government filed an application before the special court to withdraw the cases filed against Vaiko and others under POTA. But the special court refused to entertain the withdrawal petition on September 3, 2004 and ordered that the trial would proceed against Vaiko.
Aggrieved by this, Vaiko approached Supreme Court contending that the Special Court order rejecting the withdrawal application made by the Public Prosecutor was erroneous.
The Supreme Court stayed the trial and directed the petitioners to approach Madras High Court and seek to set aside the trial court’s order.
Vaiko’s counsel contended that when the review committee constituted under POTA by the Central Government is of the opinion that there is no prima-facie case for proceeding against the accused then the cognizance taken by the Special Court shall be deemed to be withdrawn.
The court accepted the averments and set aside trial court order paving way for the withdrawal of the case against Vaiko.