news Monday, May 11, 2015 - 05:30
  For those who have the time and patience to go through the whole judgment of the Karnataka High Court in the Jayalalithaa DA case, here it is. The important bits are in the end, so start from the last page. If you want to compare it with the trial court verdict, here is Justice D’Cunha’s judgment. But if you want a quick, simplistic understanding of the differences between the two judgments leading to exactly opposite outcomes, here is an explainer. It boiled down to three broad questions: 1. Was there a conspiracy between Jayalalithaa and other accused to amass wealth? 2. What was Jayalalithaa’s legal income as the Chief Minister? 3. What was her expenditure and her total financial assets as the CM? In general, Justice Kumaraswamy of the High Court has been more open to the arguments made and proof presented by defense counsel, whereas the trial court was more critical of her arguments and dismissed most of them. On conspiracy, Justice Kumaraswamy remarks that the mere fact that Ilavarasi, Sudhakaran and Sasikala were living with Jayalalithaa does not by itself prove conspiracy, and that there must be reason to believe that there was conspiracy and accused persons were members of that conspiracy. On not finding that reason, Kumaraswamy acquitted the three alleged co-conspirators. But on the same matter, Justice D’Cunha had a different opinion. He believed that the very fact that Jayalalithaa and Sasikala lived under the same roof proved that their relationship was not "ordinary". He said that facts and circumstances proved that the three lived with Jayalalithaa to pursue a criminal conspiracy.  The value of the Jaya’s assets and expenditure according to the High Court is Rs 37.5 crore, and her income pegged at Rs 34.7 crore, including the Rs. 9.3 crore income the investigating agency had calculated. This makes for a disproportionate income of Rs 2.8 crore. Trial court's D’Cunha on the other hand calculated her total assets and expenditure as Rs 63.5 crore, and expense only as Rs 9.9 crore, making illegal income worth Rs 53.6 crore. The Rs 50 crore difference in their assessments comes from their different findings on Sudhakaran’s marriage, cost of construction of Jayalalithaa’s properties, and Jaya’s income from agriculture, gifts and companies like Jaya publications. Read further details on the wedding and conspiracy here. Finding the income to be disproportionate only to the extent of 8%, Justice Kumarswamy acquitted Jayalalithaa, stating that that was within "permissible" limits.
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