Madras HC overturns conviction of former AIADMK Minister Balakrishna Reddy

The court highlighted that the prosecution's evidence was weak and uncorroborated, leading to the decision.
Former Tamil Nadu minister P Balakrishna Reddy
Former Tamil Nadu minister P Balakrishna ReddyFile Photo

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday set aside the conviction and sentence of three years imprisonment to former Tamil Nadu minister P Balakrishna Reddy belonging to AIADMK. The court said it found the prosecution's evidence weak and uncorroborated and observed that the trial court failed to take note of this lacunae.

Justice G Jayachandran passed the orders on the appeal filed by the former minister, who was convicted for damaging public properties by indulging in rioting during a 1998 protest against illicit liquor held at Bagalur in Krishnagiri district.

Following the verdict of the Special Court for MP/MLA Cases, the trial court, on January 7, 2019, convicting him in the case, he had to lose his position as the minister for youth welfare and sport development since his membership to the state legislative assembly stood automatically disqualified with the sentencing of imprisonment to three years.

He challenged this verdict in the Madras High Court. “On the cumulative assessment of the evidence, this court finds several lacunae in the prosecution evidence and that lacuna enures benefit of doubt to the accused persons,” Justice Jayachandran held.

“The trial court, unfortunately, failed to note that the prosecution was unable to even ascertain the identity of the persons gathered for the protest and formed unlawful assembly, and convicted on the weak and uncorroborated evidence,” the court said.

He said therefore the judgement of the trial court is set aside. Senior counsel B Kumar appeared for the petitioner.

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