Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back from Delhi, Baalu meets CM at Yelagiri

CHENNAI: As suspense heightened over chief minister M Karunanidhi's hush-hush trip to the Yelagiri hills, DMK parliamentary party leader TR Baalu met him on Tuesday and is said to have briefed him on the recent developments in New Delhi. The interaction assumes significance coming as it does in the wake of Baalu's meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday in New Delhi, ostensibly to seek flood relief assistance for the state.

Baalu had a brief interaction with the Prime Minister on Monday during which he is said to have handed over a memorandum from the chief minister, detailing the damages caused by heavy rains and floods across the state and seeking an interim assistance of Rs 1,600 crore. DMK sources say that Karunanidhi might have summoned the senior leader to get a briefing on the reactions in the capital to the spectrum controversy and also to guage the mood of the Congress leadership. Karunanidhi drove back to Chennai on Tuesday night.

With the DMK supremo leaving the city on Monday morning for quiet rumination in the Yelagiri hills, the indications were that Karunanidhi had sought solitude, away from pressures from within the party and his family. During his two-day sojourn, Karunanidhi met a few of his close associates, including state law minister Duraimurugan and Union minister of state for information and broadcasting S Jagathratchagan. However, the chief minister's office denied that former Union minister A Raja had called on Karunanidhi at Yelagiri. While Raja stayed away from New Delhi on Monday, the last day of the winter session of Parliament, he chose to remain in Chennai.

No official reason was given for Karunanidhi's two-day visit to Yelagiri without the usual official paraphernalia or any of his family members in tow. According to party sources, Karunanidhi chose to take the two-day break to keep away from family members as well as sections within the party to "think over the various controversies troubling the DMK and to work out a solution to tide over the crisis". The usual flood of statements and letter to partymen' published regularly in the party organ Murasoli' were missing for two days. But with few people around him, the DMK patriarch is said to have relaxed in the cool hills, a change from his hectic official routine.

Justice Reghupathi refuses to join issue on Raja

Chennai: Former Madras High Court Judge Justice S Reghupathi on Tuesday thanked Supreme Court Judge Justice H L Gokhale for his statement on the controversy surrounding allegation that the former Union Minister A Raja tried to influence him in a criminal case.

"I am thankful to Justice Gokhale (who was then Chief Justice of Madras High Court when the purported incident occurred)," Reghupathi said, without elaborating.
"I am not supposed to react. I did not make the issue public even at the time of the incident since I wanted to uphold the dignity of the legal fraternity. It applies to me today even after retirement," he told PTI. 

He refused to join issue with former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, who had last week denied that Raja's name was in the report sent by the then Madras High Court Chief Justice Gokhale. 

Gokhale today contradicted Balakrishnan's claim that he was not aware that it was Raja who had tried to influence Justice Reghupathi in a case and said he had clearly referred to Raja's name in his letter to Justice Balakrishnan. 

Justice Reghupati said his action of not joining issue on the controversy was not driven by fear but the need to uphold the court's dignity. 

He said only jurists can comment on the issue and not himself. 

Asked why he did not take action on the issue when he was a judge, Justice Reghupati said as a judge he was bound to maintain dignity and decorum of the position.

"We are not not expected to go to the media. Even at that time I kept quiet," he told reporters adding he had put everything in his letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. 

When asked for details, he said it was part of the records and it was for media to get the letters from authorities concerned. 

"Everything has become true. Absolutely correct. Majesty of law and truth will prevail," he said in reply to questions. 

SC dismisses Jaya's plea in wealth case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa to stay proceedings in the wealth case against her being heard by a special court in Bangalore. The Supreme Court also directed the special court to grant time for correcting mistakes in the translation (from Tamil to English).

Jayalalithaa on Friday last filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that if the disproportionate wealth case was allowed to proceed in the special court with errors in translation, it would result in miscarriage of justice. The special court is hearing a case of amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income during 1991-96 against Jayalalithaa.

The Supreme Court ruled that the special court judge can appoint a person who knows English and Tamil and proceed with the case. Following the Court ruling, the hearing in the case is likely to resume in the special court from Wednesday

Centre directed to counter Vaiko's LTTE plea

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file its counter affidavit to a petition by MDMK General Secretary Vaiko challenging the order of a tribunal confirming the ban on LTTE.

"I am a supporter of the LTTE and sympathiser of the LTTE," Vaiko said arguing in person when Chief Justice MY Eqbal asked him about his locus standi to challenge the order upholding extension of ban on the outfit.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen had confirmed the ban on November 12 after holding public hearings.

Vaiko told a bench comprising Justices Eqbal and TS Sivagnanam that the tribunal order was contrary to provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, opposed to principles of natural justice, vitiated by error of law on the face of the record and was liable to be quashed.
Vaiko said his application seeking for impleading himself in the proceedings was rejected by the tribunal and hence the public hearing conducted thereafter was not sustainable. 

"I am affected party in the case. Aggrieved over the tribunal order, I am challenging it," Vaiko, who had been detained in the past on charges of sedition for his pro-LTTE stand, said. 

Additional Solicitor General M Ravindran said according to Section 6 of the Act any person could approach the Centre with an application for recalling the (ban) declaration. 

But Vaiko argued this was no effective remedy to him. 

The Bench then told the Additional Solicitor General to file a counter affidavitand posted the case after three weeks. 

LTTE was declared an Unlawful Association by a central notification on May 24, 1992, an year after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the outfit's sucide bomber during an election meeting in Tamil Nadu. The ban has been extended after every two years with the tribunal confirming it.

The latest declaration extending the ban was issued in May last by the Union Home Ministry which had said despite its decimation, LTTE was re-grouping in Tamil Nadu and remnant of its cadres could use India, especially the state, as a rear base for this purpose.