Jubilance returned on the streets of Chennai with the acquittal of AIADMK leader Jayalalitha. A dramatic turn of events saw the soon-to-be chief minister of Tamil Nadu shedding the corruption tag. Although Amma has emerged as someone who has been ‘tested pure gold’, there are still some lesser-known facts that make us think of the other side of this 19-year-long episode.
- This is probably the first case in the history of India when a prosecutor was appointed after the high court completed the proceedings and reserved the matter for judgement. The case has been decided without a prosecutor’s arguments in court because Justice C R Kumaraswamy of Karnataka high court reserved orders in the case on 11 March 2015, but the case got a special prosecutor only after the Supreme Court order on 27 April 2015.
- According to Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) BV Acharya, the special bench didn’t give him the opportunity to put forth his oral arguments. In fact, the Supreme Court gave him just a day to make a submission.
- Justice Kumaraswamy gave the verdict based on special judge John Michael Cunha’s 1,067-page judgment and written arguments of B V Acharya, Subramanian Swamy and K Anbazhagan.
- According to reports, Justice Kumaraswamy declared Jayalalitha not guilty within 10 seconds.
- Besides disproportionate assets case, Jayalalitha was also convicted in two other cases: The Pleasant Stay Hotels case and TANSI case.
- When Jayalalitha won the election and returned to power in 2001, more than 70 witnesses in the corruption case turned hostile. They retracted from their previous stand and denied having any knowledge of what had happened in the case.
- On 18 November 2003, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Karnataka to ensure that it was not influenced by the clout that AIADMK has in Tamil Nadu.
- In a never-heard-before incident Jayalalitha, an accused, approached the Supreme Court and demanded retention of prosecutor Bhavani Singh. She did something even more bizarre when she sought to extend the tenure of trial judge Balakrishna who retired in the middle of the proceedings.
- In a blatant case of partisanship, the Supreme Court obliged to Amma’s request for bail after the Karnataka high court refused to give her relief. The apex court also went out of its way to fix a time limit for the high court to hear the case and pass the verdict before 18 April.
- There was an unprecedented display of devotion towards Jayalalitha by her party members in the months preceding the verdict. Prayers for her acquittal were held at several state-administered temples in the last six months. Rituals like feeding the poor and yagnas were organised across the state.
You can expect more such interesting facts to surface in the coming days as Subramanian Swamy, the BJP leader who had filed the case against her in 1996, has indicated that he will move the Supreme Court against her acquittal.