Karna cabinet decides to challenge acquittal of Jayalalithaa

Bangalore: The Congress government in Karnataka has decided to appeal jayalalithaa-tagainst the High Court verdict acquitting J Jayalalithaa in a corruption case, which cleared the way for her comeback as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister last week.

Karnataka law minister TB Jayachandra said this morning that the state cabinet has decided – on the advice of the state’s advocate general that it has a strong case – to appeal against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

The state government, Ravivarma Kumar pointed out, had 90 days to decide on an appeal, but had done so in about 20 days after the High Court verdict.

Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, was sworn in as Chief Minister on May 23, after an eight-month break that was forced upon her when a court in Bengaluru found her guilty of amassing wealth beyond her income during her first term in office two decades ago.

The AIADMK chief was arrested for three weeks before getting bail from the Supreme Court. She appealed against her conviction in the High Court and won her case this month.

The case against her was originally filed in 1996. In 2003, the trial was moved to neighbouring Karnataka to ensure that the politics of Tami Nadu would not influence the proceedings.

Ms Jayalalithaa’s arch rival, M Karunanidhi of the DMK said last week that the Karnataka government must file an appeal against her acquittal. He said in a statement that the DMK too would file its own appeal in the Supreme Court.

In the national election last year, the DMK did not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu. Ms Jayalalithaa’s party, the AIADMK, won 37 of the state’s 39, to be the third largest party in the Lok Sabha after the BJP and the Congress.

Ms Jayalalithaa, who has to win a seat in the state assembly within six months of being sworn in chief minister, will contest a by-election from Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency later this month. Her conviction last year meant that she was automatically disqualified as a lawmaker, but can contest again after her acquittal.

Assembly elections are due in Tamil Nadu elections in less than a year.

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