The Supreme Court today said it was not inclined to stay the trial at a Bangalore court in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and others. A bench comprising justices B S Chauhan and A K Sikri, however, allowed the Chief Minister to withdraw the plea and move the Karnataka High Court.
The Chief Minister seeks 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 by the authorities 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 cross examine the witnesses who may file certain documents. 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.
The disproportionate assets case was shifted to Bangalore in 2003 following a Supreme Court directive on a petition alleging that a fair trial was not possible in Chennai during her tenure as Chief Minister then. 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.