Wednesday, December 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

High Court acquits Jaya
Poised to return as Chief Minister
A Balu

HYDERABAD: Tamil Nadu Governor C. Rangarajan will reach Chennai on Wednesday evening amid speculation that Ms Jayalalithaa will be sworn in as Chief Minister on December 6 evening or the next day.  

Chennai, December 4
The AIADMK chief, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, was all set to stage a spectacular comeback as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, following a Madras High Court verdict in her favour today in her appeals against convictions on charges of corruption by a Special Court in the Tansi deal and Pleasant Stay hotel cases last year.

Jubilant AIADMK partymen bursting crackers outside Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence in Chennai on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Justice N. Dinakar delivered the much awaited decision this morning, allowing all the appeals of Ms Jayalalithaa and several other co-accused, including her close associate, Ms Sasikala.

An obviously delighted Ms Jayalalithaa would not indicate if she would stake her claim immediately to return as Chief Minister or wait till she won a by-election to the State Assembly. “I will take the right decision at the appropriate time, rather, an appropriate decision at the right time,” she said, adding there was no legal hurdle to her becoming the Chief Minister. The AIADMK leader said she would contest when elections were held.

Ms Jayalalithaa said she had all along maintained that false cases had been foisted on her (by the Karunanidhi government) and the High Court verdict had vindicated her stand.

AIADMK workers greeted the acquittal of their leader with the burst of crackers and distribution of sweets.

For the DMK chief, Mr Karunanidhi, Ms Jayalalithaa’s acquittal was a bitter pill indeed, but he put on a brave face by saying that “we do respect the High Court judgement”. He, however, added that “it will take a long time to get justice.” He did not elaborate. Mr Karunanidhi said it would be for DMK legal experts to consider if an appeal to the Supreme Court should be filed.

Ms Jayalalithaa’s foe-turned-friend-turned foe, Dr Subramanian Swamy, who was the original complainant in the Tansi Deal cases, has already announced that he will file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal. But Rajya Sabha member and editor of the Tamil magazine “Tughlak” Cho Ramaswamy doubted if Dr Swamy was entitled to file an appeal. T

he Chief Minister, Mr O. Paneerselvam, whom Ms Jayalalithaa had chosen to head the state government when she resigned on September 11 following a Supreme Court decision setting aside her appointment in May this year by the then Governor Fathima Beevi, told reporters that justice had ultimately triumphed and the people’s verdict had been vindicated. He was sure “Amma” would return as Chief Minister. Mr Paneerselvam had never been comfortable in his seat as Chief Minister, and he could not be blamed since it was obvious to everyone that Ms Jayalalithaa was the backseat driver with a remote control over the affairs of the state.

Political observers were speculating if Ms Jayalalithaa would wait until she contests and wins the Andipatti Assembly seat the two Tansi deal cases and to one year imprisonment in the Pleasant Stay hotel. The Special Judge, Mr P. Anbazhagan, had found her and her co-accused guilty of criminal conspiracy to commit irregularities in the purchase of land and buildings of state-owned Tansi by Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises in which both Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala were partners. Ms Jayalalithaa was disqualified from contesting the state Assembly elections in May under the Representation of the Peoples Act.Back

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