Bengaluru, May 11: 18 years, 259 prosecution witnesses, 99 defence witnesses, five judges and a woman, the judges of Jayalalithaa DA case indeed had a tough time.
Not to say, the innumerable delays and the cost of the judgement (which is yet to come) has cost the state exchequer more than what she had earned. Barring that, the fear of losing witnesses or them turning hostile loomed large on the judges.
The corruption is rampant in this case and no one could have avoided an unfair trial had the verdict been taken place in Madras High Court. Precisely why, it was transferred to the special court in Bangalore by the Supreme Court in 2003.
Walking on a tight rope
Most of the delays in the verdict were due to the fear of creating a crisis-like situation in the state. Jaya supporters flooded in Karnataka to support their leader and any problems in the verdict in the past raised a red alert in the state. The police were on their toes throughout and so were the people who feared attack from nowhere.
The Karnataka government had appointed senior public prosecutor, Bhavani Singh in February 2013 as the Special Public Prosecutor, replacing B.V.Acharya. The latter had cited 'sufferings' by the 'interested parties'.
However, his appointment was challenged by the DMK leader K.Anbazhagan on the grounds that the accused was in collusion with the Special Public Prosecutor.
When the Karnataka HC rejected the plea, DMK general secretary challenged the Supreme Court over the appointment. To this, Jayalalithaa argued that the Mr. Anbazhagan's plea was not ‘genuine'.
Five judges were handling the case after it was transferred to Bangalore. A.S. Pachapure was the first judge when the proceedings started in Bangalore in November 2013. A.T. Pachapure was promoted to Karnataka High Court and Munoli took over as the judge. After his retirement, B.M. Mallikarjuaniah took over as the judge of the case. After his retirement, M.S. Balakrishna took over as the judge in November 2013, followed by John Michael Cunha in March 2014.
Amma has been spared, but just a day after the Mother's Day, Cunha may be spared if he earns the mercy of Jayalalithaa.