Jayalalithaa in Bangalore for Crucial Court Verdict
BANGALORE: Amid tight security, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa arrived here this morning to appear in a special court which is set to pronounce the verdict in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case against her that could have far reaching implications for her government.
The AIADMK chief flew in here by a special aircraft at the HAL Airport along with the other accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan and Ilavarasi, the latter's relative, and headed towards the court by road.
Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran, is the fourth accused in the case in which the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has been charged with accumulating Rs 66.65 crore wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income from 1991-96 in her first term in office.
The verdict will be delivered at the makeshift court at Parappana Agrahara prison complex. The one kilometre area around it has been turned into a fortress with massive deployment of security personnel.
Police are also closely checking vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration at the check post at Attibeli on the border. AIDMK supporters had gathered at the border but were stopped by police, who have been deployed in strength.
Special Court Judge John Michael D'Cunha had directed all the accused to be present in his court on the judgement day.
Several Tamil Nadu Ministers are already in Bangalore. Platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police, the city Armed Reserve and the Rapid Action Force are stationed near the court, besides hundreds of police personnel, including those in plain clothes, police said.
Prohibitory orders have been clamped in and around the Parappana Agrahara prison complex.
The Rs 66.65 crore assets case dates back to Jayalalithaa’s first term as the Chief Minister, from 1991 to 1996. It was filed before a special court in Chennai in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu's Department of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC).
The case was transferred to Bangalore's Special Court in 2003 by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan who had expressed doubts over conduct of fair trial with Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister.
Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career, had to quit as the Chief Minister immediately after her swearing in 2001 following the Supreme Court declaring null and void the action of the then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing her as the Chief Minister as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case.
O Paneerselvan, a junior Minister in her Council of Ministers, was appointed as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
By 2002, she was cleared of all charges and sworn-in again as the Chief Minister.