Former TN minister’s PA gets three-year jail term in assets case

His wife given 18 months jail; HC terms trial court’s acquittal order ‘perverse’

Published: 20th September 2023 08:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2023 08:43 AM   |  A+A-

Madras High Court

Madras High Court (File photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Setting aside the acquittal order of a trial court over its “perversity”, the Madras High Court has sentenced the personal assistant of a former minister to three years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case. The court also slapped a prison term of 18 months on his wife. 

Justices G Jayachandran in te order said, “A1 (Venkatakrishnan) is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment of 3 years and to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh, in default, to undergo 3 months imprisonment.” The punishment was handed out for the offence under section 13 (2) r/w 13 (1) (e) of prevention of corruption act (PCA).

Venkatakrishnan was the personal assistant of Indira Kumari when she was the minister for social welfare from 1991-96 in the cabinet headed by J Jayalalithaa. His wife Manjula was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for 18 months and was slapped with a fine of Rs 5 lakh for the offence of 109 IPC r/w 13 (2) r/w 13  (1) (e) of PCA.

Accepting the plea of the counsel seeking time for their surrender so as to move appeals in the SC, the judge directed them to surrender before the trial court on October 25, 2023. Passing the orders on the appeals preferred by the state on September 13, the judge set aside the 2012 acquittal order of the special court for PCA cases, as he found the duo guilty of amassing wealth 708% disproportionate to their known sources of income. He described the acquittal order “perverse to the core and absurd on all aspects” for its omissions and commissions.

According to Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, which registered the case in 1996, the couple had amassed Rs 25.28 lakh during the first check period from 1991 to 1994 and Rs 48.49 lakh from 1994 to 1996 disproportionate to their known sources of income. Before becoming the minister’s PA, Venkatakrishnan had just Rs 10,000 in his hand.

EPS gets HC nod to sue Kodanad case accused’s bro

The Madras High Court has permitted AIADMK general secretary and former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to sue C Dhanapal, brother of the prime accused in the Kodanad heist-cum-murder case Kanagaraj, for making defamatory statements against him.

Justice RN Manjula, on Tuesday, passed the orders on an application filed by Palaniswami and granted him leave to file the defamation suit against Dhanapal who has made the interviews linking him to the Kodanad incident.

Palaniswami said Dhanapal’s interviews were aimed at tarnishing his image at the instigation of political enemies in view of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He sought the court to grant leave for suing him for the defamatory messages and claimed damages of Rs 1.10 crore for denigrating his image in the society.

The interviews contain scandalous, false accusations and allegations particularly with respect to the Kodanad case which has been under investigation and pending trial, Palaniswami said.

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