Sasikala, Ilavarasi given one more chance

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The Special Court trying the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa gave one more opportunity for the two other accused — V.N. Sasikala and Ilavarasi — to appear before it on Monday to answer queries on the “suppression of certain facts” as both failed to turn up in court on Saturday.

Though the court termed the medical reasons such as back pain and diabetes cited by the duo for their absence as “insufficient ground for granting exemption,” it gave one more opportunity for them to personally appear without fail as per the April 3 order.

However, V.N. Sudhakaran, another accused, was personally present on Saturday and the court told him to be personally present on Monday as well.

In its April 3 order, the court said that “there is reason to believe that the accused have deliberately suppressed from it the pendency of a criminal appeal before the Madras High Court…” and had ordered presence of all the accused on April 5. However, as special security arrangements had to be made for Ms. Jayalalithaa’s appearance, the court had deferred the date for her appearance.

“…in view of the suppression of material facts from the court, I find it necessary to personally interact with the accused regarding pendency of the above proceedings [before Madras High Court]…,” Judge John Michael Cunha had observed in his April 3 order.

The court said that pendency of the case was suppressed from it when a counsel for the accused produced the April 2, 2014 order of Madras High Court on a criminal appeal filed in 2000 by the accused questioning attachment of certain properties made by a Chennai court during July 2000. The Madras High Court asked the Special Court to first decide on claims of firms and companies [of which accused were directors] over some of the attached properties before proceeding with final arguments.

The Special Court had also noticed that even the Special Public Prosecutor, who was supposed to be representing the prosecution in all cases connected to the disproportionate assets cases, was not aware of pendency of appeal in Madras High Court.

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