After K Ponmudy, Madras HC to review acquittal of two more TN Ministers

Justice Anand Venkatesh has initiated suo motu revisions to review the acquittals of DMK Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran in disproportionate wealth cases.
Collage of Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran
Collage of Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran
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Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court has initiated suo motu revisions of the acquittal of two more Tamil Nadu ministers in disproportionate wealth cases against them. The judge invoked section 397 of CrPC on Tuesday, August 22, and decided to revise the acquittals of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) ministers Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran. The development has come following the suo moto revision of acquittal of Minister for Higher Education K Ponmudy and his wife Visalakshi in a disproportionate wealth case.

Section 397 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (calling for records to exercise powers of revision) empowers a High Court judge or any sessions judge to examine the record of any proceeding before any court under its jurisdiction for the purpose of verifying the correctness, legality or propriety of “any finding, sentence or order”.

On August 10, Justice Anand took suo moto revision of a disproportionate assets case against Minister K Ponmudy and his wife, who were acquitted by Vellore principal district court on June 28 in a case filed by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) dating back to 2002. The case was transferred from Villupuram district court to Vellore district court, which was termed as illegal by the Madras HC. Hearing the case on August 11, the judge said that the moves made in the case were calculated attempts to manipulate and subvert the criminal justice system.

The acquittal cases of Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran are listed before Justice Anand Venkatesh for hearing on Wednesday, August 23. State Minister for Industries Thangam Thennarasu and his wife Manimegalai were discharged in a case filed by DVAC in 2012, by the Principal District and Sessions Court in Srivilliputhur in December 2022. The case was filed alleging that Thangam, who served as School Education Minister between 2006 and 2011 during the previous DMK regime, along with his wife amassed disproportionate wealth. DVAC conducted raids in their house and booked them during the next All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime.

Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management KKSSR Ramachandran, his wife Aadhilakshmi and another person identified as one KSP Shanmugamoorthy, were acquitted in a similar case by the Srivilliputhur Principal Sessions judge V Thilaham, in July. They were also booked during the AIADMK rule in 2011, for accumulating disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 43 lakhs when Ramachandran was the Minister for Health and Backward Classes between 2006 and 2011 under the DMK government.

All these ministers belong to the DMK and were part of the state Cabinet between 2006 and 2011.

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