news Saturday, May 09, 2015 - 05:30
Editor's Note: This story, originally published on May 9, has been updated to reflect Jayalalithaa's acquittal On Monday, the Karnataka High Court has acquitted all accused, including former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the Disproportionate Assets case. The court was hearing an appeal filed by the four accused who were convicted by a special court in Bengaluru in September 2014.   Here is a round-up of the most important factors her acquittal depended on. 1. Proof of conspiracy between Jayalalithaa and the three other accused Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran In his judgement, Sessions Court Judge Michael D’Cunha accepted that the living arrangements of all four accused and multiple transactions involving them were factors establishing conspiracy. But Justice Kumaraswamy, who is hearing the appeal at the Karnataka High Court asked the prosecution, “What is the conspiracy here?” observing that Sasikala had been living with Jayalalithaa even before the latter had become Chief Minister. “Proving conspiracy is vital to the case. In the 32 firms that were started by the four accused, Jayalalithaa is a direct partner in just two. It is the prosecution’s case to prove conspiracy by showing the cash and cheque transactions that involved all the accused,” a senior lawyer told The News Minute. 2. Integrity of Namadhu MGR subscriptions Jayalalithaa’s lawyers have consistently argued that a bulk of the wealth, Rs 13 crore, was mustered through cash deposits ranging between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 18,000 made by common AIADMK supporters for subscribing to Namadhu MGR, the party mouthpiece. D’Cunha rejected this theory, stating that defense had not produced any material proof to prove that Namadhu MGR had floated a deposit scheme inviting subscriptions from the general public.  Whether the defense has managed to convince the High Court about the subscriptions is crucial to the case as it accounts for a major portion of the Rs 55.79 crore disproportionate wealth. 3.  Foreign remittance as birthday gifts Legal experts say that even if the defense convinces the court that Jayalalithaa had nothing to do with the 30 odd companies listed in the case, and manages to convince the judge about all the other properties, the foreign remittances in her account will prove to be a sticky issue. Slamming Jayalalithaa’s argument that she received Rs 2 crore and foreign remittances as birthday gifts, D’Cunha noted that these gifts were received only after she became the CM and therefore created serious doubts. He considered these gifts as illegal income. 4.  Massive expenditure in Sudhakaran’s wedding Jayalalithaa’s foster son Sudhakaran’s wedding in Chennai in 1995, which political opponents and commentators have called an ugly display of wealth, is also a crucial element in the case. In his judgement, justice D’Cunha pegged the total expenditure of the wedding around Rs 8 crore, and expenses borne by Jayalalithaa alone at Rs 3 crore. Picture courtesy- Nakkeeran Jayalalithaa’s lawyers have insisted that she spent only Rs 50 lakh , which was understandable given her wealth then was Rs 9 crore. The rest of the expenses were borne by Sivaji Ganesan’s family according to her lawyers. Read- Amma Returns: Karnataka High Court acquits Jayalalithaa   
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