Jaya judgment throws up crucial mistake

An arithmetic error has called into question the percentage of disproportionate assets cited by the judge for acquitting Jayalalithaa yesterday.

By G.C. Shekhar in Chennai
  • Published 13.05.15
  •  

Chennai, May 12: An arithmetic error has called into question the percentage of disproportionate assets cited by the judge for acquitting Jayalalithaa yesterday.

In the uploaded copy of the judgment delivered by Karnataka High Court judge C.R. Kumaraswamy, the sum total of 10 loans is shown as Rs 24,17,31, 274 (Rs 24.17 crore.)

But when the individual amounts of the 10 loans are added, the resultant sum comes to Rs 10.67 crore - which is Rs 13.50 crore less than the Rs 24.17 crore shown in the judgment. (See Page 7 for relevant portion)

This figure is central to the acquittal of Jayalalithaa and the three others. Based on the total loan, which was treated as income, the judge concluded that the disproportionate assets are worth no more than Rs 2.82 crore or 8.12 per cent of the total income.

The judge had cited a Supreme Court order of 1977 and an Andhra Pradesh circular to say assets in excess of 10-20 per cent are permissible. It is on the 8.12 per cent figure that Jayalalithaa was acquitted.

However, if the total loan amount comes down, it will pull down the total income, too, and drive the percentage of the disproportionate assets well above the outer limit of 20. In this case, the percentage of disproportionate assets balloons to 76 per cent.

It is not clear whether the mistake took place while doing the sums or typing the individual amounts or whether not all loans were specified in the judgment. If more loans do exist and they are added, the picture can change.

But in the absence of a clarification, the total loan amount of Rs 24.17 core remains an unexplained figure.

The Telegraph tried to reach the registrar of Karnataka High Court for clarity but was unable to elicit a response.

The Tamil Nadu Opposition, including PMK leader S.R. Ramadoss, has brought the discrepancy into the public domain. Special public prosecutor B.V. Acharya said he was "looking into the issue".

Only an appeal in the Supreme Court can facilitate an examination as no court can review its own judgment. Since a single judge of the high court has given the verdict in the Jayalalithaa case, an appeal will invariably lie with the Supreme Court.