HC: Relief for TN leaders in graft cases is abuse of power
“I have opened a can of worms and started looking into case after case,” the judge declared in open court.
CHENNAI: Calling closure of cases against political leaders when they come to power in Tamil Nadu as a systemic problem and failure, Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court on Friday lamented that ‘Only God can save the institution’.
The judge, who is on a self-avowed mission to review the orders of trial courts discharging leaders from graft cases, asked political bigwigs to face the trial and come out clean instead of trying to get out of the cases by manoeuvring through the criminal justice system. “I have opened a can of worms and started looking into case after case,” the judge declared in open court.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh then ordered notice to the DVAC and DMK minister I Periyasamy, and former minister B Valarmathi of the AIADMK on suo motu revision of their discharge from corruption cases.
Order of discharge a grave miscarriage of justice, says Judge
Periyasam y was acquitted by a special court for MP/MLAs in connection with the case of allotting a housing plot in Chennai to Ganesan, a personal security officer of late leader M Karunanidhi, in March 2023. The judge noted that Ganesan’s undated application was processed in a breakneck speed and a G.O. was issued allotting him the plot ‘within 96 hours’ in 2008. Considering weekend holiday, the actual time taken was just ‘48 hours’, the judge said, adding Periyasamy has been committing ‘grossest abuse of judicial process’ by repeatedly filing discharge pleas.
It is shocking the special court, which is expected to possess at least a working knowledge of criminal law and procedure, has entertained a petition under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act to discharge the accused knowing the provision did not deal with discharge at all, the judge said. While the criminal conspiracy among the accused to obtain allotment of TNHB flat in favour of Ganesan took 22 days, the “collaborative effort between the prosecution, the defence counsel, and the special court” to discharge Periyasamy was achieved in an equally “incredible span of just 24 days”. By discharging the accused on the very same ground, the special court has reviewed its earlier order, which is ‘ex-facie illegal’ in view of the bar under Section 362 CrPC, and ‘virtually sat and set aside’ the orders of the HC and the SC negating the discharge of Periyasamy.
Referring to Valarmathi’s discharge in 2012 by the special court for MP/MLA cases, Justice Anand Venkatesh said the order of discharge, “prima facie appears to rest on grounds that are clearly perverse and erroneous” causing “grave miscarriage of justice”. He noted that the accused persons were discharge d on December 24, 2012, just one-and-a-half years after Valarmathi’s party came to power.
Seeks reply from dvac, min, ex-min
‘Only God can save the institution. I’ve opened a can of worms,” says Justice N Anand Venkatesh, seeks reply from DVAC, DMK minister I Periyasamy and ex-minister B Valarmathi.