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NATIONAL NEWS
Jayalalithaa, Sasikala criminally conspired at Poes Garden to launder ill-gotten wealth: SC
 
(New Delhi,Feb 14, 2017):SC verdict accuses Jayalalithaa as a mastermind who misused her public office
Highlighting that the Jayalalithaa disporportionate assets case demonstrates a "deeprooted conspiratorial design" to amass vast riches and hold them through shell entities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicted former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa posthumously and her three coaccused, including V.K. Sasikala, of hatching one criminal conspiracy after other at Poes Garden to launder the illgotten wealth of Jayalalithaa for purchasing huge properties in the names of "masked fronts."

The Supreme Court said Jayalalithaa did not accommodate Sasikala at Poes Garden out of some "philanthropic urge" but with coldblooded calculation to keep herself secure from any legal complications, which may arise from their criminal activities.

"We have analysed the evidence adduced by the parties and we come to the conclusion that A 1 to A 4 (Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran) entered into a conspiracy, and in furtherance of the same, A1 (Jayalalithaa), who was a public servant at the relevant time, had come into possession of assets disproportionate to her known sources of income during the check period (199196) and had got the same disbursed in the names of A2 to A4 and the firms and the companies involved to hold this on her behalf with a masked front," a Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy concluded.

The Supreme Court concludes that in 1991, the assets of the accused were valued at Rs. 2.01 crore. By 1996, the accused were worth a whopping Rs. 66.44 crore.

"Attendant facts and circumstances encountered in this case demonstrate a deeprooted conspiratorial design to amass vast assets without any compunction and hold the same through shell entities to cover up the sinister trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceived and delude the process of law," Justice Roy wrote in a separate concurring judgment, expressing "deep concern about the escalating corruption in the society."

Justice Roy said the case was "startling" in the way corruption was carried out by the accused persons with sheer impunity.

Restoring "in toto" the trial court's September 2014 conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, the court said the appeals against Jayalalithaa stood abated with her death on December 5, 2016. The other three accused have been ordered to surrender forthwith.

The trial court had in 2014 sentenced the trio to four years imprisonment each and Rs. 10 crore fine each for abetting corruption and criminal misconduct by a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Jayalalithaa was also sentenced to four years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100 crore for corruption.

The abatement of charges however does not rub off the smear of ignominy the Supreme Court piled on Jayalalithaa's political legacy in its 570page judgment.


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