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High Court to deliver verdict in Jayalalithaa wealth case appeal

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 JayalalithaaBengaluru: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will face a critical judicial test tomorrow with the High Court set to pronounce its verdict on her appeal against her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

As Tamil Nadu remains on edge, it will be a high-stake test as the judicial outcome could swing the political fortunes either way for the ruling AIADMK supremo and alter the political course in the neighbouring state, which will go to Assembly polls in about a year.

According to legal circles, the 67-year old Jayalalithaa need not be present in the court when the single judge bench of Justice C R Kumaraswamy delivers the judgement, just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals by her and three others.

The court will decide on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against the Special Court Judge Michael D’Cunha’s September 27 last verdict sentencing them to four years in jail and imposing a hefty fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.

An acquittal would enable a big political comeback for Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career.

An adverse outcome, on the other hand, would accentuate uncertainty and cause more worries about the future of the AIADMK leader and her personality-based monolithic party.

She will remain disqualified under the Representation of the People Act from contesting elections for a period of 10 years–four years from the date of conviction and six years thereafter, unless a superior court sets aside the conviction.

During the hearing of the appeal, Jayalalithaa has contended that the then DMK government-led investigation had deliberately over-valued her assets and she had acquired the property, including jewellery, through legal means.

Anticipating arrival of thousands of AIADMK supporters from Tamil Nadu on the verdict day, city police have clamped prohibitory orders in one km radius of the High Court from 6 AM to 6 PM tomorrow, apart from beefing up security.

PTI

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