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In a major relief to AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, who has been in jail for past 21 days, the Supreme Court on Friday suspended the sentence awarded to her by a trial court and granted her bail in 18 year-old disproportionate assets case. She will be released from prison today, said senior counsel B Kumar.

The former chief minister had cited grounds of being senior citizen and woman for getting out of jail.

While pressing for bail in the apex court, Jayalalithaa even pleaded that she is ready to be confined in a house for two-three months till her appeal is decided by the high court. The bench, however, said it cannot pass such “unusual” order for house confinement and she can either be granted or denied bail.

The court, which also held her responsible for seeking adjournments which caused delay in trial, asked her not to delay the appeal and prepare all documents within two months so that the Karnataka High Court can hear the case.

“If paperbook is not filed within two months, then we won’t give you even a single day more,” the bench said. It refused to dispose of the bail plea and posted the case for hearing on December 18 to ensure that Jayalalithaa complies with its order.

On September 27, a trial court from Bangalore had convicted and then sentenced her to four-year jail term. A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu also suspended the sentence of other three convicts N Sasikala, VN Sudhakaran and TMT J Elasvaras in the case and directed to furnish a bond with two solvent sureties to the satisfaction of the trial court.

In an hour-long hearing, initially the bench expressed reservation on granting bail to her, saying she had delayed the trial proceedings for years and if she is allowed to come out on bail then appeal would be decided in two decades.

Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Jayalalithaa, assured the court that the matter would not be delayed, saying that he was willing to give the statement on affidavit that no adjournment would be taken by her in the high court.

Jayalalithaa requested people to maintain calm. She said “I request all to maintain peace, law and order and not give anyone a chance to criticise. I appeal to my beloved Tamils, my supporters and my party men not to criticise judgements or the judges who delivered them or the court proceedings, which will bring disrepute to the judiciary or make allegations against any one.”

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