Will missing income in Jayalalithaa judgement account for mathematical errors?

news Friday, May 15, 2015 - 05:30
Following the questions raised over the mathematical errors in Karnataka High Court’s judgment acquitting Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case, judge CR Kumaraswamy is soon expected to issue a clarification on the matter. A written clarification was expected earlier this week, but sources in the Karnataka HC have told The News Minute that Justice Kumaraswamy may provide a clarification in open court on the errors pointed out both by opposition parties as well as the public prosecutor, BV Acharya. However, some HC insiders insist that the judge is under no obligation to give a clarification as the order copy has answers as to how the errors are nullified. Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu and public prosecutor Acharya had earlier pointed out that the High Court order had wrongly calculated the total loan amount as Rs. 24.17 crore, whereas the components on loan on a table titled  on page no. 852 of the judgment added up to just Rs. 10.67 crore.  "It is based on this amount (Rs 24,17,31,274) that the judge has ruled that the Rs 66 crore rupees disproportionate assets case is wrong and acquitted them," DMK Chief Karunanidhi said in  a statement a day after the judgment. A source told TNM that the judge is expected to explain that the figures pointed are indeed a mathematical error. This means, the loan amount may be brought down to Rs 10.67 crores. So Jayalalithaa’s income in the judgment will indeed plunge to Rs 27.2 crore instead of Rs 34.7 crore as calculated by the judge earlier. However, this might not change the verdict, as it seems that there are two income sources mentioned on other pages of the judgment which have not been included in the total income reflected on page no. 913 of the judgment. One of them is income from the Kodanadu estate belonging to Jayalalithaa, amounting to Rs. 7 crore, which the judge has mentioned in page no. 910 of his judgment, expressing surprise that the investigating agency had not considered as income. This amount however does not reflect in the table of total income. Page 910 of judgment The other source of income, which HC insiders say will be added to the income list on the judgment, is the funds from non-refundable deposits that Jaya publications received through the subscription scheme for Namadhu MGR, the party mouthpiece. On page no. 876 of the judgment, the judge says, “Taking into consideration of the evidence of defence witnesses mentioned herein above, even if there is a delay in filing the Income Tax returns, this cannot be a factor to reject the whole claim of the assessee. The evidence adduced by the defence will have some force. This aspect has to be taken into consideration while assessing the income spoken by the defence side. Jaya Publications’ activities are Printing text books, Publishing, Real Estate and Namadhu MGR – newspapers, in my view, a sum of Rs.4,00,00,000/- has to be taken as an income earned by Jaya Publications.” Sources say that though Rs 4 crore was added as income from Jaya Publications and Namadhu MGR, the subscription scheme was erroneously left out. Page 876 of judgment Similar arguments have emerged from the AIADMK camp as well, as The Hindu has reported an AIADMK insider stating, “The order has not included about Rs. 13.5 crore of non-refundable deposits that Jaya Publications got from the subscription scheme. In our view, since the scheme had been accepted, this amount had to be treated as unsecured loan.” Such a clarification from the judge would mean another setback for the opposition parties of Tamil Nadu and the State of Karnataka, who were elated to find the glaring errors in the judgment. Even if under section 362 of the CRPC the judge is allowed to amend the judgment following any clerical or arithmetic errors, it is unlikely that the complainants and petitioners in the case will accept the changes in the judgment. Moreover, it remains to be seem if the prosecutor and DMK will accept the Kodanadu agricultural income between 1991 to 1996, as the property was bought by Jayalalithaa only in 1995. Though these are indications on how the judge may rectify the errors, the DMK says the appeal will not be affected in any way. "The judge is free to make any changes, add or subtract income, we don't care. We are challenging the very premise of this judgment that 10% disproportionate assets is permissable. It seems the judge first decided the conclusion, then went on to do the math," says DMK leader TKS Elangovan. Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK are going ahead with their plans for her return as the Chief Minister. With the Karnataka HC seemingly allowing Jayalalithaa to hold on to her reprieve, the next stage for confrontation will be the Supreme Court.

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