Private individuals culpable if proved abettors in corruption cases
~By Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr
The main case of disproportionate assets is directed against the late J Jayalalithaa, and it relates to her first tenure as chief minister of Tamil Nadu between 1991 and 1996. VK Sasikala, her sister and her sister’s son whom Sasikala considered her “foster’ son”, were abettors in accumulating disproportionate assets of Jayalalithaa.
Judges Amitava Roy and Pinaki Ghose have said: “The Trial Court held that even private individuals could be prosecuted for the offence under Section 109 of I.P.C. and we find that the Trial Court was right in coming to the conclusion relying on the decision wherein it was observed that acquisition and possession by a public servant was capable of being abetted, and observed that Under Section 3 of the 1988 Act, the Special Judge had the power to try offences punishing even abetment or conspiracy of the offences mentioned in the PC Act and in our opinion, the Trial Court correctly held in this matter that private individuals can be prosecuted by the Court on the ground that they have abetted the act of criminal misconduct falling under Section 13(1)(e) of the 1988 Act committed by the public servant.”
The Supreme Court concurred with the Trial Court’s view that there was “active abetment and conspiracy” on the part of Sasikala, her sister and ‘foster’ son, in the commission of “offences under Section 13 (1) (e)” of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Trial Court had referred to the General Power of Attorney that Jayalalithaa had executed in favour of Sasikala in “respect of Jaya Publications”, one of the firms floated by Jayalalithaa.
The view put forward by the Trial Court was: “circumstance of executing the power of attorney in favour of A2 indicates that with a view to keep herself secured from legal complications, A1 executed the said power of attorney knowing fully well that under the said powers, A2 would be dealing with her funds credited to her account in Jaya Publications.”
The more stinging observation of the Trial Court about the conspiracy of all the accused, which includes Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, was that “all the accused congregated in the house of A1 (Jayalalithaa) neither for social living nor A1 allowed them free accommodation out of humanitarian concern, rather the facts and circumstances proved in evidence undoubtedly point out that A2 (Sasikala) to A4 (Sasikala’s ‘foster’ son) were accommodated in the house of A1 pursuant to the criminal conspiracy hatched by them to hold the assets of A1.”
Here You Can Read The Full Judgement