Senior lawyer says Supreme Court has overturned bail rejection in fodder case.
The Karnataka High Court witnessed hectic arguments by lawyers of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and the others convicted in the disproportionate assets case during the hearing of their bail applications on Tuesday.
Appearing for Ms. Jayalalithaa, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani quoted profusely from the trial court order to say that the very basis of its evaluation of the assets was flawed.
During his hour-long arguments, Mr. Jethmalani said the trial court judge had on many instances taken on the role of a “witness” to prove points that even the prosecution did not press.
As an example, he contested the trial court’s methodology in arriving at the value of building constructions, cited in the charge sheet, as well as the expenses for the marriage of V.N. Sudhakaran in 1995.
The lawyer said that while experts ought to have been used for these purposes, the judge depended on witnesses with “hearsay” evidence.
He cited a Supreme Court judgment in the fodder scam case against former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, in which it overturned the rejection of bail by the Jharkhand High Court.
Amit Desai, who appeared for Sasikala and Sudhakaran, said the trial court had dismissed income tax returns that were duly accepted by the I-T tribunal when these were provided as evidence of their innocence.
In doing so, the court relied on judgments of a High Court that was later reversed by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Desai contended that without establishing in clear terms the aspect of benami transaction, the special court acted in a manner that transferred the burden of proof on the accused.
This, he said, was a complete reversal of criminal jurisprudence.