Gifts given by associates of J Jayalalithaa to renowned music composer A R Rahman for a performance at a wedding in 1995 — when he was still a newcomer in the film and music industry — figure among key evidence being brought against the Tamil Nadu CM in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case against her.
The statement of Rahman, prosecution witness number 214 in the case, was among those presented Wed-nesday in the ongoing final arguments in the trial in a special court here. Rahman is among 260 witnesses whose statements are being relied upon by the prosecution to argue its case against Jayalalithaa.
The case dates back to her first term as CM of Tamil Nadu between 1991 and 1996. The case was booked in 1997 and probe was carried out under DMK’s rule.
The case was transferred to a Karnataka special court by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by DMK official K Anbazhagan alleging subversion of the trial by the AIADMK government, which returned to power in 2001. Rahman was examined as a prosecution witness while the case was still in Chennai and he was was cross examined in November 2000 regarding the gifts he received for performing at the September 1995 wedding of Jayalalithaa’s foster son V N Sudhakaran, a co-accused in the case along with former aides V K Sasikala and J Elavarasi.
Rahman had received a silver kumkum casket, two silk sarees and a silver sandal bowl in a silver plate after he was asked by Jayalalithaa’s aides to perform a day before Sudhakaran’s wedding on September 6, 1995. All the gifts were seized as evidence in the case.
Rahman has stated that he was a music composer in the film industry with about eight years’ experience when he was asked to meet the CM by Jawahar Balu, a secretary to Jayalalithaa, who was known to him. When he met the CM at the secretariat, he was asked to perform at the wedding.
According to Rahman, he later met a close associate of the CM, Bhaskaran, who handed over the gifts. The Oscar-winning music composer said he performed for about an hour at the wedding and that he performed free of charge.
Rahman, in the course of his cross examination, said the CM did not directly give him anything and he had not been invited personally by Sudhakaran.