SC stays DMK Minister Ponmudy’s conviction, arrest in DA case

The Minister was disqualified as a legislator after the court convicted him and his wife under various offences including the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Minister K Ponmudy
Minister K PonmudyPTI
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The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, March 11, suspended the jail term of DMK Minister K Ponmudy and stayed his conviction. Earlier, on January 12, in a closed chamber sitting, Justice Satish Chandra Sharma had granted interim relief for one month to the minister and his wife and allowed the couple to approach a higher court.

It may be noted that the couple were accused of amassing assets worth Rs 1.72 crore, beyond their source of income when Ponmudy was serving as the Minister for Higher Education and Mines between 2006-2011. The case was registered against them by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption (DVAC) in 2011 after the AIADMK party under Jayalalithaa formed the government. Though the trial court had acquitted the duo in 2016, Justice G Jayachandran of the Madras High Court (HC) found that Ponmudy and his wife had 65% disproportionate assets. 

Justice Jayachandran said that the trial court had failed to understand that Ponmudy’s wife was holding assets which Ponmudy had acquired through unknown sources. “The trial court ignored all the material evidence placed by the prosecution to show that the business and the agricultural land of the wife had not yielded income sufficient to acquire the wealth held in her name and most of those properties itself suspected to be purchased by Ponmudy in her name.” The court had, on December 21, 2023, sentenced Ponmudy and Visalatchi to three years of imprisonment and fined each of Rs 50 lakhs. 

Ponmudy was also disqualified as a legislator as per section 8(1) of the Representation of the People Act, which says that a person convicted for various offences, including provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 shall be disqualified for a period of six years.

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