Taking a serious view of the special public prosecutor’s attempts to delay the trial in a Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a special court in Bangalore on Friday asked the prosecutor to pay the court Rs 60,000 for each day the trial is delayed.
The unprecedented fine amounts to the appearance fee paid to the special public prosecutor Bhawani Singh by the state for each hearing.
The special judge John Michael Cunha ordered the payment of costs after the special public prosecutor (SPP) who has been complaining of illness over the few weeks sought to be excused for 10 more days.
The SPP produced a medical certificate but refused to name the doctor who issued it.
The SPP was scheduled to begin his arguments in the trial on Friday as per an assurance given to the court by his assistant prosecutor.
“As the special public prosecutor has been repeatedly seeking adjournment since January 27, 2014 without justifiable cause I am left with no option than to impose costs for each adjournment which would be nothing less than one day’s remuneration payable to the SPP as fixed by government for each hearing,’’ the special judge ruled. The court was informed that the SPP was being paid Rs 60,000 for each hearing that he attends. The court also suggested that in the alternative the accused in the case Jayalalithaa, and three others would be allowed to begin arguments in the trial.
The case against Jayalalithaa was initiated in 1997 by the DMK government when it came to power in Tamil Nadu and was transferred to Karnataka by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by a DMK official K Anbazhagan who accused the AIADMK government of subverting the case.
The SPP Bhawani Singh has been accused by the DMK of seeking to favour the accused by employing different tactics in the case. The original court-appointed SPP B V Acharya, quit in August 2012 after accusing the then BJP government in Karnataka of seeking his ouster to further political ties with the AIADMK. Bhawani Singh was then appointed the SPP.
False cases play havoc with the crime statistics and tend to trivialise the offence of rape.