New Delhi/Chennai (IANS): The Supreme Court Friday granted bail to jailed former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, triggering celebrations in the state by the cadres of her AIADMK.
Alongwith Jayalalithaa, convicted of possessing assests disproportionate to her known sources of income, her aide Sasikala Natarajan and two others have also been granted bail.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu said all four will be released on bail subject to the satisfaction of the condition by the trial court.
The apex court made it clear that Jayalalithaa and the three others will complete their appeal with all relevant documents before the high court in a matter of two months and, thereafter, it will ask the high court to expedite and complete the hearing on the appeal within three months.
The court told senior counsel Fali S. Nariman, appearing for Jayalalithaa, that it will not grant a day more to his client if they don’t complete the paperwork of their appeal before the high court with all the documents within a span of two months.
“It is Diwali day for us,” a party cadre said outside the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai.
“We are very happy at the Supreme Court’s order. Our prayers have been answered. The real Diwali for us is today,” P. Kumar, AIADMK’s member of parliament, told IANS.
The bail for Jayalalithaa came on a day when the AIADMK celebrated its 43rd anniversary.
AIADMK cadres – men and women – assembled outside the party headquarters and danced in joy. They burst crackers and distributed sweets.
Similar scenes were witnessed in other parts of the state like Salem, Karur and Tuticorin.
AIADMK cadres also vented their anger at opposition leaders like DMK’s M. Karunanidhi, DMDK’s A. Vijaykant, PMK’s S. Ramadoss and BJP’s Subramanian Swamy.
Jayalalithaa is presently in a Bangalore jail after her conviction in the disproportionate assets case. The former chief minister was awarded four-year prison term and a fine of Rs.100 crore.
She had moved the Supreme Court Oct 9 seeking the bail.
Jayalalithaa, along with her aides Sasikala Natrajan, V.K. Sudhakaran and J. Ilavarasi, was refused bail Oct 7 by the Karnataka High Court which held that there were no grounds for granting bail.
Besides her health grounds, Jayalalithaa has invoked section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking the suspension of her sentence and grant of bail till the pendency of her appeal against the trial court order.
The high court, while declining bail to Jayalalithaa and three others Oct 7, had relied on apex court orders as it ruled that putting the sentence on hold after an appeal is filed against the trial court order was not automatic. It had said that plea for bail after the conviction was different from the plea for bail while the trial was on.
It had also cited the apex court ruling that “corruption amounts to violation of human rights and leads to economic imbalances”.
In the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case, the trial court in Bangalore convicted Jayalalithaa Sep 27 for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income and sentenced her to four jail term and Rs.100 crore fine.
The case against Jayalalithaa and three others related to the period from 1991 to 1996 involving Rs.66.65 crore when she became chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time.