Supreme Court refuses to stay trial against Jayalalithaa in disproportionate assets case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated the stay on trial proceedings against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a disproportionate assets case.

A bench of justices Vikramajit Sen and SK Singh also dismissed Jayalalithaa's petition for staying her trial till the lower court decides the plea of a company alleging that some of the properties, shown as part of the disproportionate assets of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, actually belonged to them.

The apex court recalled its earlier order on May 26 by which the trial against her was stayed till June 6.

The disproportionate case was filed in 1996 by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government which came to power after Jayalalithaa's exit as the state's chief minister. The 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, VK Sasikala, VN Sudhakaran and J Illavarasi are also facing trial in the case.

The chief minister 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 had 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. 

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