Tuesday, October 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jaya gets 3-year RI in Tansi case
Verdict suspended till Nov 7
From A. Balu

CHENNAI, Oct 9 — A special court today found former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalitha guilty in the Tansi land deal case and sentenced her to three years’ rigorous imprisonment, but suspended operation of the judgement until November 7 to enable her to file an appeal in the Madras High Court.

The verdict of the Special Judge, Mr P. Anbazhagan, was a severe blow to the political fortunes of the AIADMK leader, who has been nursing the ambition of staging a comeback in the state assembly elections to be held early next year and hoping to oust the DMK regime led by Mr M. Karunanidhi.

The sentence of three years imprisonment bars her from contesting elections for a period of six years unless, of course, the high court comes out with a judgement in time in her favour.

Apart from today’s adverse judgement against her, Ms Jayalalitha carries a heavy baggage of pending corruption cases, and in this context, her political fortunes are in a state of uncertainty. All this is heartening news for her key adversary, Mr Karunanidhi, who is hoping to win another term in the forthcoming assembly elections.

Along with Ms Jayalalitha, her close confidante Ms Sasikala Natarajan, and three others — former Rural Industries Minister Mohammed Asif, former Chairman and Managing Director of Tansi, Mr T.R. Srinivasan, IAS officer Karpurapandian and former Special Deputy Director (Stamps) S. Nagarajan — were also sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment. In the second Tansi land deal, involving Sasi Enterprises, the court acquitted Mohammed Asif, but sentenced Ms Jayalalitha, Ms Sasikala, and the three others, to two years of rigorous imprisonment. In both cases, the Judge imposed a total fine of Rs 15,000 on each accused.

The prosecution case was that the state government-owned prime Tansi land at Guindy in Chennai was purchased by Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises (in which Ms Jayalalitha and Ms Sasikala were partners) at a price far below the guideline value, resulting in a loss of about Rs 4.16 crore to the government. Fifty prosecution witnesses were examined, while the defence put up 12 witnesses. The Judge held that the prosecution had proved the guilt of the accused under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Madras High Court on January 13 had discharged Ms Jayalalitha from the case, but on a special leave petition filed by the state government, the Supreme Court overruled the high court judgement and directed the special court to proceed with the case.

The city police and the police in several other parts of Tamil Nadu took special precautions to prevent possible violent incidents in the wake of the court verdict. It may be recalled that following her conviction in the Kodaikanal Pleansant Stay Hotel, there were a series of violent incidents in which three college girls were burnt alive by hooligans allegedly belonging to AIADMK.

Ms Jayalalitha, who along with the other accused, appeared in the court today, refused to speak to the media on the verdict.

PTI adds: Scores of AIADMK activists were taken into custody from various parts of Tamil Nadu on Monday when they attempted to block roads, protesting against the special court judgement convicting Ms Jayalalitha in the Tansi land deal case.

The police said over 250 AIADMK volunteers were taken into custody near the party headquarters in the city when they tried to block roads and set ablaze an effigy of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Meanwhile, the AIADMK’s general council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, has been indefinitely postponed.

Ms Jayalalitha in a brief announcement here said that the meeting was being postponed due to “unavoidable reasons”. A fresh date would be announced later, she said.

The AIADMK headquarters issued another press note announcing that Ms Jayalalitha’s planned tour of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu from October 15 was being postponed.

The party alleged that its functionaries were arrested from various parts of the state on Sunday long before the judgement was delivered, in the name of preventive measures.

The arrests were continuing, rendering it impossible for partymen at district, panchayat union and town levels to make arrangements for Jayalalitha’s various programmes on her tour, the note claimed. It also alleged that partymen were being held under non-bailable sections.

NEW DELHI: (UNI, PTI) — The BJP on Monday described the court’s indictment of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha on the controversial Tansi land deal case as a significant step in the war against corruption.

Party General Secretary Narendra Modi said it was a significant day in the pursuit against corruption. While Ms Jayalalitha was convicted in the land scandal, the authorities had submitted chargesheet against the Hindujas in the Bofors gun deal as well.

The conviction of AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha by a Chennai special court will debar her from contesting the next year’s assembly poll in Tamil Nadu unless the judgement is stayed or until she is cleared of the conviction by a higher court, Election Commission sources said on Monday.

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