The Madras High Court on Wednesday took up on its own, a revision case against two DMK ministers who were acquitted by a local court in Virudhunagar district in disproportionate assets cases filed against them.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who holds the portfolio for MP/MLA cases in the State, took up the cases against senior Ministers Thangam Thennarasu and his wife and KKSSR Ramachandran and his spouse and also a friend of the DMK leader. 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 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 on end till 2021. In 2021, the political fortunes in the State smiled at the main accused who regained their positions as Ministers in the State Cabinet. A few months thereafter the State prosecution very magnanimously came forward and offered to conduct “further investigation”, the judge said.
The product of this “further investigation” was a “closure report” tailored to support the grounds for discharge. The Special Court was then presented with a perfect fiat accompli as the prosecution suddenly whitewashed its earlier final report and presented a picture of complete innocence, the judge said.
On its part, the Special Court accepted the closure report and proceeded to discharge 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 the period 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 instalments 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. In May 2021, there was a change in guard in the State and A1 (Thennarasu) was back in the saddle as the incumbent minister…. The stage was now set for the prosecution to self-destruct,” the judge said.
Pointing out at various “illegalities” in both cases, the judge said that “I have no hesitation in holding that this is a case where I must exercise my revisional powers suo motu under Article 227 of the Constitution & Sections 397/401 Cr. P.C. 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 the acquittal of the duo in a disproportionate wealth case by a trial court in Vellore in June this year.