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DMK mantri convicted in graft case; loses seat, post | India News – Times of India

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CHENNAI: In blow to the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the Madras high court Tuesday convicted its leader K Ponmudy in a corruption case, resulting in his immediate disqualification as MLA and minister, reports
The quantum of jail term will be known on December 21 when Justice G Jayachandran has summoned Ponmudy and wife P Visalakshi, who was also convicted. The issue pertains to a case by the Directorate of Vigilance against the duo under the Prevention of Corruption Act for the period 2006-’11 when Ponmudy was minister for mines & minerals.
65% of DMK neta, wife’s wealth not proportional to their income: Judge
Section 8(3) of Representation of the People Act, 1951, makes it clear that while an MP or an MLA needs to be sentenced to not less than two years to attract disqualification, in corruption cases, they shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction.Also, the convict shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his/ her release.
The issue pertains to a case registered by Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption in 2011 against the couple under the Prevention of Corruption Act for the period 2006-2011 when Ponmudy was minister for mines and minerals. Reversing Ponmudy’s acquittal by a special MP/ MLA court in 2016, Justice Jayachandran said: “A miscarriage of justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction of an innocent.” Holding the couple guilty of criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the judge said the duo had amassed 65% of wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.
Rejecting the findings of the lower court that the minister and his wife were two entities and that their incomes could not be clubbed together, HC said: “This is basically a fallacious approach by the trial court.” The court pointed out that the trial court had failed to examine that the business and agricultural land owned by the minister’s wife had not yielded income sufficient enough to acquire the wealth held in her name and that she just held them for the minister.
“The trial court, without assigning any plausible reasons for any man of prudence to believe, had first segregated A-2 (wife) from A-1 (minister), then relied on the income tax returns filed by A-2 after receipt of final opportunity notice without any corroboration or supporting evidence,” the court said.



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