TN High Court orders revision after local court acquits 2 DMK ministers
Justice N Anand Venkatesh said: “In cases of this nature, it is the duty of the High Court to interfere and prevent miscarriage of justice."
Stung by the acquittal by a local court in Tamil Nadu over charges of amassing disproportionate assets, the Madras High Court took up on Wednesday (August 23) a revision case against two DMK ministers.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who holds the portfolio for MP/MLA cases, took up the cases against senior Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and his wife as well as KKSSR Ramachandran and his spouse.
The court ordered issuing notice to all concerned besides the State.
"It was a deja vu moment for this Court as both orders revealed a well-orchestrated pattern,” the judge said, detailing how the politicians came to be discharged.
He said the Special Court had taken cognisance of the final reports in 2013/14. Discharge applications were filed, and the cases were adjourned for months and years till 2021 when the DMK returned to power and the accused again became ministers.
A few months later, the prosecution magnanimously offered to conduct "further investigation", the judge noted.
This only led to a "closure report" tailored to support the grounds for discharge.
The Special Court was then presented a perfect fait accompli as the prosecution suddenly whitewashed its earlier final report and presented a picture of innocence on the part of the ministers, the judge said.
The Special Court accepted the closure report and discharged the accused.
"This court smelt a rat and called for the entire records of these two cases. ‘Something is rotten in the State of Denmark,’ said Shakespeare in Hamlet. On examining the records, this court is of the considered opinion that something is very rotten in the Special Court for MP/MLA Cases at Srivilluputhur," the court said.
The ministers were charged with amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during 2006-11.
"It is also seen from the records that the learned counsel for the accused commenced marathon piecemeal hearings for over one year in the discharge petitions – from 27.03.2020 till 09.04.2021.
“The Special Court appears to have liberally heard the discharge petition in installments for over a year.
"Through the aforesaid collaborative effort of all concerned, the matter was successfully dragged on till the assembly elections in May 2021… The stage was now set for the prosecution to self-destruct," the judge said.
The judge said: “In cases of this nature, it is the duty of the High Court to interfere and prevent miscarriage of justice."
Justice Anand Venkatesh had earlier initiated a similar case against another DMK minister K Ponmudy and his wife following their acquittal in a disproportionate wealth case by a trial court in Vellore in June.