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Friday, September 24, 2021

Madras HC orders notice on plea to examine Palaniswami, Sasikala

Justice M Nirmal Kumar later adjourned the matter for September 27.

By: PTI | Chennai |
September 4, 2021 12:40:07 pm
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala. (File)

The Madras High Court on Friday ordered notice to the Sholurmattam police in the Nilgiris on a plea to examine former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and expelled AIADMK leader and close aide of late CM J Jayalalithaa, V K Sasikala, in connection with the 2017 Kodanadu heist and murder case.

Justice M Nirmal Kumar later adjourned the matter for September 27.

Though the prayer in the criminal revision petition from Deepu, M S Satheesan and A Santosh Samy of Kerala, all accused persons in the case, was to set aside a partially dismissed portion of the April 30 order this year of the Sessions Judge at The Nilgiris, they had contended that the judge had passed the order in a hurried manner without considering their pleas in their original petition.

The April order allowed estate manager Natarajan alone to depose in the case. It was rejected in respect to the other witnesses.

The petitioners contended that the impugned order of the trial court was not maintainable in law and lacked merit. The Sessions judge had failed to note that police had not recorded the statements of material witnesses, who would be able to talk about the ins and outs of the scene of crime at the Estate bungalow, after the death of Jayalalithaa.

The premises was under the control of Sasikala and her close relative J Elavarasi, who would be in a position to depose about the valuables which were missing after the crime took place. Hence, the Trial Court has erred in passing the impugned order, they contended.

The judge had failed to note that it was the right of the accused to lead witnesses on his side to substantiate his case. He had failed to consider the sensitivity of the case and dismissed the petition in a mechanical manner. He had failed to note that the Investigation Officer (IO) had deposed that the prime accused in the above case is late Kanagaraj, who was the driver of Palaniswami, they said.

Within three days from the date of crime, Kanagaraj was killed in a road accident wherein the IO had conducted the probe “in a lethargic manner” and let the culprits go scot free. Hence, the impugned order is liable to be quashed and to set the law in motion.

The judge had been a “mute spectator” to the proceedings and “miserably failed” to infer the seriousness of the case where the police had filed their final report in a hurried manner for the best reasons known to them, the petitioners submitted.

He had failed to note that it is obligatory on his part to issue process when the accused seeks summoning of any witnesses and production of any document in his defense. Hence, the impugned order is liable to be set aside, they said.

Late chief minister Jayalalithaa used the Kodanad estate property as a retreat and after her death in December 2016, the accused allegedly murdered a security guard there, injured another and decamped with valuables, including watches.

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