In Jayalalitha's case, since the sentencing is for a period more than three years, only the High Court can grant bail
J Jayalalitha, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu on Monday filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging her conviction and seeking bail in the disproportionate assets case against her.
The 66-year-old leader sought relief two days after a Special Court in Bengaluru sentenced her to jail for four years, as a fallout of which she lost her Assembly membership and consequently chief minister’s post.
Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, her relatives VN Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi also approached the court, seeking bail and challenging their conviction in the case.
Last Saturday, Special Judge John Michael D’Cunha, who has slapped a staggering fine of Rs100 crore on Jayalalithaa in the 18-year-old Rs66.65 crore corruption case, also sentenced the three to four years of jail term and fined Rs10 crore each.
In the landmark judgment that saw the first conviction of a sitting Chief Minister in a corruption case, all the four were held guilty of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
The High Court is on Dussehra holidays from 29th September to 6th October and a Vacation Bench may take up the petition on Tuesday during a scheduled hearing.
Since the sentencing is for a period more than three years, only the High Court can grant bail in Jayalalithaa’s case.
A stay on the conviction would nullify the disqualification of Jayalalithaa as MLA. Unless the conviction is overturned by a superior court, Jayalalithaa runs the risk of being barred from contesting elections for 10 years – four years when she is in jail and six years after release.
Jayalalithaa is currently lodged in the Parappana Agrahara central jail in Bangalore, as also three others.
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