Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa got 10 days relief in a disproportionate assets on Monday when the Supreme Court stayed ongoing criminal proceedings against her but allowed for the civil proceedings to continue.
Jayalalithaa faces charges of accumulating over Rs 66 crore worth of assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. The disproportionate assets case was shifted to Bangalore in 2003, following the Apex Court's directive on a petition alleging that a fair trial was not possible in Chennai during her tenure as CM.
"Let the trial in the criminal proceedings be kept in abeyance till our further order. However, the civil proceedings will go on," said a vacation bench of justices BS Chauhan and AK Sikri while fixing June 6 as the next date of hearing.
The civil proceedings relate to the plea of various companies alleging that some properties, shown as part of the disproportionate assets of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, actually belonged to them.
The bench passed the order on Jayalaithaa's plea, challenging the Karnataka High Court's order dismissing her plea on the ground of non-maintainability saying that the trial is at an advanced stage. The bench also issued a notice to the Director General Vigilance on the petition filed by AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa.
Appearing for CM, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, said that grave prejudice would be caused if the criminal trial is not stayed.
On May 13, the apex court had said it was not inclined to stay the trial in the Bangalore court in the DA case against Jayalalithaa and others. It had allowed the chief minister to withdraw the plea and move the Karnataka High Court.
The chief minister had sought a stay on the trial till the lower court decided the plea of Lex Property Development (P) Ltd, a Chennai—based firm. The company has claimed that the properties, which have been attached by the authorities as 'benami' holdings of Jayalalithaa, in fact, belonged to it and said this plea be decided first before the lower court proceeds with the trial in the assets case. The court had allowed the company, which has separately challenged the attachment of properties, to cross examine the witnesses who may file certain documents.