Seeking immediate bail, jailed AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa today moved the Karnataka High Court challenging her conviction in the disproportionate assets case which cost her the chief minister’s job and disqualified her from being an MLA.
Noted Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani is believed to have been drafted by Jayalalitha’s legal team for arguing the bail and stay application that is likely to come up for hearing by a vacation bench tomorrow.
In her petition, she has maintained that the charges of amassing wealth against her were false and that she had acquired property through legal means.
Jayalalitha has contended that the trial court has overlooked several judgements and has not considered the binding nature of various income tax orders and decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which had accepted the income and the level of expenditure pleaded by her.
The former chief minister said she had earned money by acting in films and bought property through legal means, Ashokan, Jayalalithaa’s lawyer told PTI here.
C Duraipandian, member of the AIADMK legal, team said they have filed an appeal for suspension of the conviction and the sentence and have also refused to pay the Rs.100 crore fine imposed on her.
In a verdict on Saturday at the end of an 18-year old legal battle, Special Judge John Michael D’Cunha had convicted her, sentenced her to four years imprisonment and slapped a staggering fine of Rs 100 crore in the Rs 66.65 crore corruption case.
Unless the conviction is suspended immediately and later overturned by superior courts, Jayalalitha faces a bleak political future as she cannot contest elections for 10 years–four years in jail and six years after that.
Jayalalithaa also denied allegations that she has any share in Jaya Publications and was in no way connected with it.
Her aide Sasikala, her relatives V N Sudhakaran, disowned son of the former Chief Minister, and Ilavarasi have also filed applications in the High Court seeking bail and challenging their conviction.
The high court is on Dasara holidays from September 29 to October 6 and their petitions are also expected to be taken up tomorrow during a scheduled hearing by a vacation bench.
Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were also convicted and sentenced to four years of jail term and fined Rs 10 crore each in the landmark judgement that saw the first conviction of a sitting Chief Minister in a corruption case.
Jayalalithaa and the other accused were held guilty of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
She had been accused of committing the offence when she was the chief minister for the first time during 1991-96.
With the special court giving more than a three-year jail term, Jayalalithaa can hope to get relief only from the High Court. If a stay on conviction is granted, it would nullify the disqualification of Jayalalithaa as MLA.
Jayalalithaa and the other three are at present lodged in the Parappana Agrahara central jail here.