The Supreme Court Friday stayed the Karnataka government communication to special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh asking him not to appear before the Bangalore special court hearing a corruption case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
A bench of Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice S.A.Bobde issued notice to Karnataka government and other respondents, returnable in 10 days. Apparently unhappy with the way Karnataka government had conducted itself in the case, Justice Chauhan observed that this matter should not have come before the apex court.
Making a mentioning of the petition by Jayalalithaa, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court that Karnataka government, after withdrawing its earlier notification removing Bhawani Singh as prosecutor, sent him a communication asking him not to appear before the special court hearing the case.
The state government communication told Bhawani Singh that as it had to hold consultation with state chief justice on the appointment of a prosecutor thus he should not resume work.
Karnataka had Sep 6 told the apex court that it would be withdrawing its Aug 26 notification removing Bhavani Singh and then place entire record leading to the removal of Bhavani Singh before the chief justice of the state high court for his opinion.
In case, the chief justice gives his nod to the government decision to remove Bhavani Singh, then state government would place before him a list of senior lawyers so that one of whom could be picked up to be the special public prosecutor.
Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran had moved the apex court challenging the removal of Bhavani Singh. They had contended Bhavani Singh was taken off the case when he was in the third day of his final arguments which had seen the examination of 99 defence witnesses in a span of five months from February to July 2013.
The court was told that the petitioner had already responded to about 2000 queries by the prosecution. Jayalalithaa, in her petition, alleged that the abrupt change of the prosecutor was done by Karnataka’s ruling Congress at the behest of her political rival DMK in Tamil Nadu.
She is facing trial in a case of owning disproportionate assets amounting to Rs.66 crore that relates to the period when she was chief minister from 1991 to 1996. The trial in the case was shifted outside Chennai by the apex court in 2003 to ensure free and fair trial.