The Supreme Court Tuesday declined a plea by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to defer her trial in a corruption case, currently going on in a Bangalore court.
A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and A K Sikri turned down a plea to stall the trial in the criminal case relating to disproportionate assets after noting the protracted nature of the trial. Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for the Karnataka government, also opposed the plea for staying the trial and asserted the need to expedite it in the interest of justice.
While allowing her counsel to withdraw the plea, the bench refrained from commenting on the argument that the allegations in the criminal case had a direct connection with a civil case, also pending in Bangalore, and hence the outcome in the latter should be awaited.
Jayalalithaa had sought a stay on the trial till the lower court decides the plea of Lex Property Development (P) Ltd, a Chennai-based firm. The company has alleged that the properties, which have been attached as ‘benami’ holdings of Jayalalithaa, in fact, belonged to it and this plea be decided first before the lower court proceeds with the trial in the assets case.
The court, meanwhile, allowed the company, which has separately challenged the attachment of properties, to ask for the relevant documents that had been filed with the chargesheet in the case.
The plea of the company is coming up for hearing on May 15 in the lower court while the assets case is listed for arguments on May 19.
Jayalalithaa faces charges of accumulation of over Rs 66 crore worth of assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. Besides Jayalalithaa, V K Sasikala, V N Sudhakaran and J Illavarasi are also facing trial in the case.