Whether the 66 crore disproportionate assets case is giving nightmares to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha or not, it is giving sleepless nights to the DVAC officials and bureaucrats in the top echelons.
DVAC sources say DVAC Director K.P.Maghendran and IG AMS.Gunaseelan are on their toes on the eve of appearance of Chief Minister Jayalalitha in the Bengaluru court.
DVAC officials are in a tight spot owing to the fact that the assets case against Jayalalitha is their own baby and they cannot openly go against it. At the same time they are in a quagmire of working under the same person who is accused of possessing disproportionate assets. Sources in DVAC add that all the officials are on tenterhooks and the IG AMS.Gunaseelan is continuously camping at Bengaluru making arrangements for the arrival of Amma.
Readers familiar with whispers could see how wrong legal advise had landed Jayalalitha in such a tight spot.
On 20th October Jayalalitha would make her appearance before Mallikarjunaiah who is the Special Judge conducting the trial against Jayalalitha in the assets case. Jayalalitha would be facing questions from the Judge under section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code. 313 of the Cr.P.C. empowers the court to question the accused after the witnesses for the prosecution are examined and before defence witnesses are examined. Following this procedure examination of defence witnesses would commence followed by re-examination of the Investigating Officer.
N.Nallama Naidu, who was the investigating officer in this case was humiliated by advocates of Jayalalitha when he was examined in the Special Court in Chennai, before the trial was transferred to Bengaluru on the orders of the apex court. Naidu was virtually in tears when the advocates of Jayalalitha humiliated him with a barrage of questions affecting his integrity.
However after the change of guard at Fort. St. George in 2006, Nallama Naidu was given a status of ‘Officer on Special Duty’ in the DVAC with a hefty pay package. So there is very little likelihood that Nallama Naidu would turn hostile.
After this procedure prosecution witnesses already examined could be recalled and examined based on the evidence adduced by the defence side. To prolong the trial, Jayalalitha may choose to recall most of the witnesses citing one reason or other. But it is unlikely that the court appointed Special Public Prosecutor B.V.Acharya would allow this to happen. The present government had for its part, rubbed Acharya on the wrong side when G.Sambandham, present Investigating Officer had written a letter directly to the Special Judge seeking orders for further investigation. Acharya took it as a personal insult and recorded his objections before the Special Judge. So recalling prosecution witnesses to procrastinate the trial may not yield desired results.
Any appeal in the High Court or Supreme Court against the orders of Special Judge rejecting the plea for recalling prosecution witnesses is unlikely to yield any results. The apex court while dismissing Jayalaliha’s appeal for exemption from personal appearance for questioning under Section 313 Cr.P.C. had already made an observation that such a plea is only to buy time.
DVAC officers are well aware that an angry Amma may not only ruin their careers but also mar their future. Caught in a tight spot, amma is also keeping her fingers crossed.