Bengaluru, Feb 25: It was quite ironic that on a day (February 24) that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister celebrated her birthday the state of Karnataka decided to argue on the money that she received as a birthday gift in the Supreme Court.
The argument was about Rs 1.5 crore, which is part of the disproportionate assets case. The prosecution said that it was not a legal source of income.
The other argument that Karnataka put up was about a belated intimation made by her to the Income Tax department regarding a loan raised by Jaya Publications. This was one of the many important submissions that the Karnataka government made before the Supreme Court, which was hearing an appeal challenging the acquittal of Jayalalithaa and three others in the disproportionate assets case.
The arguments in the case will continue today as well. Dushyanth Dave arguing for the state of Karnataka is expected to conclude his arguments today. In the past two days, Dave advanced before the Bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy several important points and sought her conviction.
How can a birthday gift be a legal source of income?
The Karnataka government stressed hard on the point that gifts received from party cadres, especially in cash cannot be termed as a legal source of income. Dave asked the Supreme Court whether such gifts fall under the category as legal income.
Some leaders are equated to the status of God by their cadres and supporters. Dave pointed out that Jayalalithaa had received Rs 1.5 crore as a birthday gift from her cadres. This has been termed as a legal source of income, Dave also added.
There has to be a mechanism to check this. At the moment there is no such mechanism and the Supreme Court must take steps in this regard, Dave also pointed out. If there are no checks and balances in this regard, it becomes a free for all situation. Politicians will escape criminal liability under the Prevention of Corruption Act and begin terming all ill gotten wealth as a birthday gift.
Further the prosecution also pointed out that they had no intimation about the Rs 15 crore loan that was taken by Jaya Publications. There was no intimation during the period of 1991 and 1996. Instead, it was after this period that the Income Tax officer was intimated about this amount. This is belated and an after thought on her part, Dave also argued.
Today Karnataka would have to clarify before the Bench about the amount that was spent on the wedding of V Sudhakaran. The prosecution had claimed before the trial court that the expenditure was at Rs 6.45 crore.
However, the trial court reduced the amount to Rs 3 crore as there was no evidence for the rest. The Supreme Court has sought to know about the remaining Rs 45 lakh.