June,1,2015: Filing the appeal is inevitable and the decision has been made purely on the basis of merit, says Karnataka Law Minister
Karnataka State Cabinet on Monday decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s verdict of acquitting AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa and three others in the disproportionate assets’ case.
The Cabinet has also decided to continue with the services of Senior Advocate B. V. Acharya by appointing him as Special Counsel to argue the case before the Apex Court, while Mr. Sandesh J Chouta will assist him.
"It is inevitable for us to file an appeal before the Supreme Court as Karnataka has been declared as the sole prosecuting agency by the Supreme Court with respect to the disproportionate assets’ case. We have to execute our responsibility properly by filing the appeal," Law Minister T. B. Jayachandra told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
He made it clear that the decision to file an appeal had been taken purely on the basis of the "merit of the case as well as legal issues" and no political considerations were involved.
"There is no question of any political vendetta involved here," he remarked while pointing out that the Special Public Prosecutor, the Advocate General and the Law Department had all opined that it was a fit case to appeal.
He said the authorities have been directed to immediately commence the process of filing the appeal. Refusing to divulgethe details regarding the basis on which the appeal would be filed, Mr. Jayachandra only said various issues, including the reported error in computing the total loans treated as income of the accused, would be part of the appeal.
While Mr. Acharya had publicly stated that it is a fit case to appeal, Advocate-general Ravivarma Kumar too had recently cautioned the State Government that it would be a "great travesty of justice" to allow the High Court’s acquittal of Ms. Jayalalithaa to become final by not appealing in the apex court.
When asked about the delay in taking a final call on filing the appeal, Mr. Jayachandra remarked that the government had been given 90 days’ time to make a decision in this regard. Answering queries, he maintained that the Congress high command had not interfered in the process of taking the decision on appeal.
"Actually Karnataka had nothing to do with this case. It was the Supreme Court that transferred this case to Karnataka as it is one of the best administered states. We need to live up to the expectations and act responsibly," he said.
Meanwhile, sources in the state Cabinet said that during the discussion, a senior minister had stressed the need for assessing the political fallout of filing an appeal before making a final decision.
The clinching argument
The value of disproportionate assets was Rs. 2.82 crore and this value was not enough to convict them on charges of corruption, said Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy in his verdict while disagreeing with the verdict of the Special Court, which had computed the value of DA at Rs. 53.6 crore.
How DA came to account for less than 10% of income
Vigilance probe’s findings:
Construction costs: Rs.27,79,88, 945
Marriage expenses: Rs.6,25,04,222
- High Court’s findings:
Construction costs: Rs.5,10,54,060
Marriage expenses: Rs.28,68,000
Construction costs: Rs.2,69,34,885
Marriage expenses: Rs.6,16,36,222
Vigilance estimate – Exaggerated value
- Disproportionate assets:
- Total assets – Total income
- Rs.37,59,02,466-Rs.34,76,65,654 = Rs.2,82,36,812
- Rs.2,82,36,812 x 100/Rs.34,76,65,654= 8.12%