Karnataka to withdraw order removing SPP in Jayalalithaa case

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JAYALALITHANew Delhi, Sep 6:Karnataka Government today told the Supreme Court that it is withdrawing the order removing advocate G Bhavani Singh as special public prosecutor in a disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

An undertaking in this regard was given by Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who placed the records pertaining to the appointment of the SPP in the case and said fresh selection of the prosecutor would be done by placing all relevant materials before the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

“The impugned order of August 26 removing the SPP is thereby withdrawn. The Attorney General further states that Karnataka Government will place on an urgent basis all relevant materials before the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court along with the list of senior lawyers for being appointed as the SPP,” a bench comprising Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde said in the order.

The bench on Wednesday had asked the Karnataka Government to place before it all the records pertaining to the special public prosecutor in the case.

Earlier on August 30, the apex court had restrained the Karnataka Government from appointing new SPP in the case.

Vahanvati apprised the bench that though there was a list of four senior lawyers for the appointment as SPP in the case, the then acting chief justice of the High Court on February 2, 2013 had appointed Singh, whose name was not in the list.

He was appointed as the SPP following the resignation of former advocate general B V Acharya who was the prosecutor in the case from February 2005 to August 2012.
The bench was informed that the state government decided to remove Singh as the SPP during the pendency of petition in the High Court questioning his appointment.

However, there was no consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court on Singh’s removal. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Jayalalithaa, said Singh was withdrawn as SPP only with the aim to delay the trial in the 17-year-old case.

“The idea is to keep the sword hanging,” he said. Jayalalithaa has challenged the appointment of new prosecutor in the case. The Karnataka Government had on August 26 issued a notification withdrawing the appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP.

“The appointment of senior advocate Bhavani Singh as SPP to conduct the disproportionate case against Jayalalithaa and others in the special court is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect,” the government notification had said.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief is accused of amassing Rs 66.65 crore between 1991 and 1996 when she was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
The case was transferred by the apex court from Chennai to Bangalore in 2003 during her earlier tenure as the Chief Minister for a free and fair trial.

She had alleged the case was slapped on her by the previous DMK government for political reasons.

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