The crowd began to gather outside AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence since early morning on Monday. By 8 am, the police had set up nearly 100 barricades on the road outside. There were queues of red-beacon vehicles belonging to VIPs, as ministers, MLAs, local party leaders, top bureaucrats and police officers lined up to meet her.
But Jayalalithaa did not step out of her room. “All of us had to return without getting a glimpse of her. We were told that she will meet us later. Many ministers were seen returning after delivering bouquets at her office,” said a police officer who was present at Poes Garden.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam also arrived much before the court pronounced its order.
Outside her residence, men, women and children sang and danced all day. There was a moment of abrupt silence at around 11 am, when the court announced its verdict, after which the celebrations resumed.
“She give us a life, food, education, laptops — everything that she could. She cannot be convicted and put behind bars,” said Valarmathi, a supporter from Tambaram. A group of seven women who came from Tiruvallur were seen hugging each other. Another group of women were seen breaking coconuts before a Saraswati idol.
Meanwhile, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said this was not the end of the case. “Once, during the arguments, Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the opposition has 65 marks and AIADMK lawyers have only 35 marks. But what has happened now? How did they get 100 marks? I would like to remind one and all about Mahatma Gandhi’s saying that there is a court above all courts and that is conscience,” he said in a statement.
G Ramakrishnan, CPI(M) state secretary, said the Karnataka government should appeal in the Supreme Court against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal.
While state BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said Jayalalithaa should ensure relief for the people of state like the relief she got from the court, state leader H Raja was among those who reportedly called up Poes Garden to convey his wishes, along with MDMK leader Vaiko, a former ally of AIADMK.
Congress spokesperson Khushboo tweeted: “Acquitted… can’t take away your guilt.. You make mockery of judiciary system for 18 long years and then you walk free but can you sleep without guilt?”
Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya said he didn’t expect this verdict. “We were given only one day to give submissions, and that too in written form. I was appointed on April 27 and had to file submission in a day on a case that had over 297 witnesses, over 2,000 documents,” he said.
Colour TV scam
♦ Was acquitted by the trial court in May 2000.
Charge: Was accused of receiving Rs 8.53 crore as bribe in the purchase of over 45,000 TV sets for village centres in 1995.
♦ In February 2000, lower court convicted her of criminal conspiracy. A year later, Madras High Court acquitted her.
Charge: Was accused of allowing a hotel to illegally construct additional floors in 1994, while she was the CM from 1991 to 1996.
♦ Was convicted by the trial court in October 2000. She was acquitted by the High Court in December 2001.
Charge: Was accused of buying properties belonging to TANSI and causing a loss of over Rs 3.5 crore to the govt.