JJ Disproportionate Assets case: Arguments commence in Supreme Court

The Disproportionate Assets case of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram was heard in the Supreme Court
The Disproportionate Assets case of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram was heard in the Supreme Court

Supreme Court, New Delhi

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he State of Karnataka along with intervenor, Dr. Subramanian Swamy started arguments in the Supreme Court to overturn the judgment of the Karnataka High Court in the Jayalalithaa Jayaram Disproportionate Assets (JJ DA) Case. The plaintiffs’ argument would have centered around how the High Court Judge may have miscalculated Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram’s assets. In both courts, that bribes were taken has been agreed to – it is just the nuances of how much and perhaps a mis-interpretation of the law.

The case has been adjourned to March 29th, for Holi. Judgment is expected in April, before the commencement of elections in the state of Tamil Nadu. The details of the case till date is presented below (emphasis in Bold is ours):




SLP(Cri) No. … of 2015


State of Karnataka … Petitioner


  1. Ms.J. Jayalalitha
  2. Mrs.N. Sasikala
  3. Mr. V.N. Sudhakaran
  4. Ms. J. Elavarasi … Respondents


Dr. Subramanian Swamy                                  … Intervenor




    1. On 14.06.1996, this Intervenor after obtaining Sanction u/s 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act [PCA] from the Tamil Nadu Governor, had filed a Written Complaint in the Court of Special Judge, Chennai detailing the commission of the offence u/s 13(1)(e) r/w 13(20 of the PCA, against R-1 Ms. Jayalalitha as Chief Minister for amassing disproportionate assets during the check period 01.07.1991 to 30.04.1996.

    2. The Ld. Court by an Order dated 21.06.1996 directed the same for investigation u/s 17 of the PCA r/w Section 202 of the Cr. PC for the same check period 01.07.1991 to 30.04.1996.

    3. On 18.09.1996, the DVAC of Tamil Nadu government registered a case and started investigation. Subsequently, the Police report and Private Complaint were clubbed together.

    4. On 14.06.1997, the DVAC filed a charge sheet against R-1 to R-4, alleging that disproportionate assets valued at Rs. 66.65 crores was accumulated by Ms. Jayalalitha and on her behalf, and the trial process began.

    5. Charges were framed and trial commenced on 28.12.1998. But on 18.11.2003 this Hon’ble Court transferred the case [(2003) 3 SCC 767] to Karnataka before XXXVI Addl. City Civil and Session Court.

    6. On 27.09.2014 all the four Respondents herein were convicted. R-1’s disproportionate assets as of 30.04.1996 was posted at Rs.53.50 crores.

    7. On the convicted persons preferring Appeal to the Karnataka High Court on 29.09.2014, the Appeal was heard and judgment of the Hon’ble Court was delivered on 11.05.15 acquitting all four Respondents herein.

    8. Aggrieved by the said judgment, the Petitioner/prosecution is today before Your Lordships by way of a SLP.


    1. The first key issue before this Hon’ble Court is the vitiating circumstance of the appointment of the sole Public Prosecutor.

    2. This includes the deplorable way the Karnataka Government mid way changed the Public Prosecutor in the Trial Court and later in the Appeal stage before the Karnataka High Court the sole Respondent was the Superintendent of Police of Tamil Nadu while R-1 herein was the Chief Minister of the State.

    3. The matter was partly repaired by this Hon’ble Court in its judgment of 27.04.15 by directing the Public Prosecutor appointed by the Karnataka Government to make written submissions.

    4. It is however clear from the 1000 plus pages judgment of acquittal delivered by the Hon’ble Single Judge on 11.05.15, just two weeks thereafter, that he has not addressed any of the substantive rebuttals or issues of the newly appointed Respondent viz., the Public Prosecutor on behalf of the Karnataka Government.

    5. It is now apparent from the SLP herein before Your Lordships, that by unraveling the intricacy in the arithmetic in income and wealth calculations and rectifying the poor accounting principles followed by the Hon’ble single Appellate Judge, the Trial Court estimate at Rs. 53.50 crores of disproportionate assets of the Respondents herein, is an accurate estimate, and not the Rs.2.82 crores estimate of the Hon’ble High Court.

    6. R-1 ro R-4 had nil wealth declared till 1989-90. Thereafter R-1’s wealth began to gallop on just Re 1 salary as Chief Minister.

    7. In the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court’s impugned judgment, it was noted from my statement on oath as Complainant [p.21 of the impugned judgment or at p. 24 of Vol I SLP of State of Karnataka], that R-1 had herself declared her assets [after claiming all permitted deductions] as Rs 38.21 crores as at March 31,1996.

    8. Yet, the Hon’ble Single Judge states [p. 913/914 of the impugned judgment] that her net wealth stood at Rs.37.59 crores, and held an estimated but contrived liability and income of Rs.34.76 crores was required to be factored out, i.e., actual total unexplained wealth as a residual stood at Rs 2.82 crores.

    9. It is clear perusing the records that these liabilities and income factored out are arbitrary and unreasonable.

    10. The trial court, in September 2014, in a more straight forward accounting had found R-1 guilty of possessing disproportionate wealth to the tune of Rs.53.6 crore acquired during 1991-96.

    11. Page 914 of his order acquitting the Accused/Respondents the Hon’ble Judge has cited the Krishnanand Agnihotri case, which states that “when there is disproportionate assets up to the extent of 10%, the accused are entitled for acquittal.

    12. The Hon’ble Judge has also cited a circular issued by the Government of Andhra Pradesh which stated “Disproportionate assets to the extent of 20% can also be considered as a permissible limit” for being condoned.

    13. Nowhere does the Supreme Court judgment lay such margins as a Rule for latitude. Agnihotri’s case [AIR 1977 SC 796 at para 33] was explicitly ad hoc decided in the context of a low level officer with a relatively minor excess wealth.

    14. If the Hon’ble High Court thought R-1 deserved the same benefit for much larger amounts in crores it was needed to explain why keeping in view this Hon’ble Court catena of judgments holding corruption in high places as a cancer or HIV of our body politic.

    15. Another issue to be pointed out is that of the Hon’ble Karnataka HC dismissing rates for construction materials as being “too high”, and therefore arbitrarily reducing the costs of construction and renovation in the properties of the Respondents by using the PWD shed construction rates for Italian marble using mansions and buildings of the Respondents.

    16. Thus, the Karnataka High Court came to the conclusion that R-1’s wealth in 1996 was just Rs.2.82 crores and not disproportionate.

    17. Therefore, the entire re-calculation done by the Hon’ble Judge is arbitrary, unreasonable and unsupported by any established procedure known in case law in corruption cases since 1988.


      1. The impact of corruption on our society is multidimensional and corrosive. Moreover, unless persons in high places are brought to book, and an example is set that “no matter how high you are the law is above you”, probity in public life will not prevail suo moto. Hence there is no room for leniency in prosecuting corruption cases especially of public servants.

      2. As noted in the citation [e.g., see Tansi Case (2004)2 SCC 9 at page55 para 58], this Hon’ble Court has observed, corruption in high places has become a cancer in our democratic system that threatens through several ways to collapse our economy and subvert our national security.

      3. This has been the golden thread of judicial inclination in a catena of judgments since 1958 [e.g., S. A. Venkataraman vs State (1958) SCR 1040; State of M.P. vs Ram Singh (2005) 5 SCC 88; Niranjan Sashi vs State of Maharashtra (2013) 4 SCC 642; Subramanian Swamy vs CBI (2014) 8 SCC 682].

      4. The spate of R-1’s brazen accumulation of wealth continues un-abated. In R-1’s case, in May 2011 General Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, R-1 Ms. Jayalalitha as a candidate, had disclosed that she had total assets of Rs. 51. 40 crores.

      5. More recently in a by-election held on June 27, 2015, just after acquittal, Ms. Jayalalitha disclosed her total assets as having galloped to Rs. 117.13 crores excluding the 21, 280.30 grams of jewellery seized by the authorities and in the custody of the Karnataka Government.

      6. This sharp rise in accumulated assets took place in the context of her drawing just Re. 1.00 as her CM’s salary and despite all the litigation on disproportionate assets against her she continued to accumulate assets at a hectic pace.

      7. Hence the Judgment of the Karnataka High Court acquitting the Respondents requires in the interest of justice and probity be scrutinized with Your Lordships’ judicial wisdom and with strictness.

      8. The impugned judgment eminently is deserving of being set aside, and the Trial court judgment thus re-instated.


New Delhi                                                                Intervenor

March 17, 2016                                                   

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  1. Mr.Swamy has been a crusador against all forms of corruption in the country.It is but natural to hit at the top so that at least in future the lower down officials feel afraid to indulge in corrupt practices.Your argument is silly and meaningless.
    Mr.. Swamy stands tall with an impeccable integrity. He exposed the culprits behind the infamous 2G.Rightly so he is after.JJ,PC,Rahul,Sonia etall.If you can do something to wipe out corruption from the country do it or otherwise just shut up watch.

  2. sir is this case is considered most important case in india, the amount involved in disproportionate case is about sixty four crores . do you think no other chief minister in india has lesser asset .sir you said pm modi can bring back all disproportionate amount kept as black money in international banks but till now nothing has happened. Can we say BJP MINISTERS HAVE TAKEN HUGE MONEY FORM THE THE BLACK MONEY DEPOSITORS TO DELAY OR DROP THE CASE . PLEASE CONCENTRATE ON CORPORATE BIG FISHES THOSE WHO HAVE DEFAULTED TO PAY BACK BANK LOANS .IF THIS IS ACHIEVED ALL THE CASES LIKE JAYA’S DISPROPORTIONATE ASSET CAN BE SOLVED IN NO TIME .


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