The trial court's conclusion in a case relating to alleged irregularities in purchase and distribution of television sets that other accused committed offences under Prevention of Corruption Act would apply to former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa also, the Tamil Nadu government told the Madras High Court on Thursday.
"It is a settled principle that once the trial court comes to the conclusion that the other accused had committed offences under PCA, it will automatically apply to A1 (Jayalalithaa) also," public prosecutor P Kumaresan said, initiating arguments on an appeal by Tamil Nadu government challenging the May 2000 acquittal of Jayalalithaa.
Trial Judge V Radhakrishnan had on May 30, 2000, absolved Jayalalithaa, her close friend Sasikala and S R Baskaran of the charges against them in the case relating to alleged irregularities in purchase and distribution of TV sets, involving Rs 65.68 crore of public funds.
The Judge had, however, convicted former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Minister T M Selvaganapathy, former state Chief Secretary N Haribaskar, former Rural Development Secretary H M Pandey, former Rural Development Director M Satyamurthy, Selvaganapathy's PA Jarnadhanan and two contractors Doraisamy and Muthukumarasamy in the case and sentenced them to five years rigorous imprisonment.
The counsel contended that object of the conspiracy was to obtain pecuniary advantage to the accused and others by purchasing TV sets with public money at Rs 14,800 each, which was about Rs 2,000 more than prevailing prices then.
Stating that the prosecution had proved that commission was paid by agents of TV companies to the convicted persons, Kumaresan pointed out that as far as Jayalalithaa was concerned, she had approved the purchase at a cost higher than prevailing prices.
He charged her with going ahead with the purchases despite being aware of objections raised by the finance department.
He alleged that she had cleared the files without any public interest to facilitate others to receive pecuniary advantage.
The "undue haste" of Jayalalithaa in dealing with the matter was a "strong circumstance" to show that she was a part of the conspiracy, he added.
Referring to the appeals by the convicted persons challenging the trial court order finding them guilty, Kumaresan said there was no need to disturb the trial court, which had found them guilty after considering the oral and documentary evidence.
"The prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt and the findings of the trial court are well founded. Hence there is no merit in the appeals to disturb the findings of the trial court," he said.