Karnataka to consult state CJ on prosecutor change
Karnataka Friday told the Supreme Court that it would withdraw its Aug 26 notification removing Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh, appearing in the trial of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case, and consult the state chief justice on the change.
The government would be withdrawing its notification so that it could once again embark on the exercise of removing Bhavani Singh in consultation with the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court.
Before issuing Aug 26 notification, the state government had not consulted the chief justice as was directed by the apex court.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati told a bench of Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice S.A. Bobde that Karnataka government would withdraw its notification and then place the entire record leading to the removal of Bhavani Singh before the chief justice for his opinion.
In case, the chief justice gives his nod to the government decision to remove Bhavani Singh, then the state government would place before him a list of senior lawyers so that one of whom could be picked up to be the special public prosecutor.
In the course of the hearing, Justice Chauhan said that they would keep the matter pending and in the meanwhile, the state government should withdraw the order removing Bhavani Singh.
Meanwhile, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi appearing for Jayalalithaa told the court that all this was "political" and his client was "suffering".
"They (government) are playing these games to buy the time," he said.
Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran had moved the apex court challenging the removal of Bhavani Singh.
They had contended he was taken off the case when he was in the third day of his final arguments which had seen the examination of 99 defence witnesses in a span of five months from February to July 2013.
The court was told that the petitioner had already responded to about 2000 queries by the prosecution.
Jayalalithaa in her petition has alleged that the abrupt change was been done by the ruling Congress party in the State at the behest of her political rival, DMK, in Tamil Nadu.
She is facing trial in a case that relates to the period when she was chief minister in 1991 to 1996. The trial in the case was shifted outside Chennai by the apex court in 2003 to ensure free and fair trial.
(Posted on 06-09-2013)