Powerful Indian politician cleared of corruption

2015-05-11 16:25
(Saurabh Das, AP)

(Saurabh Das, AP)

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New Delhi - An appeals court in southern India acquitted powerful regional politician Jayaram Jayalalitha of corruption charges on Monday, clearing the way for her to return to public office.

Supporters from Jayalalitha's party cheered, set off fire crackers and danced in the streets of the Tamil Nadu state capital of Chennai, her hometown, after the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore delivered its verdict.

The 67-year-old Jayalalitha, a film star in her youth, said the verdict showed the case had been "foisted [on me] by political enemies".

"It has confirmed that I have done no wrong," she said in a statement issued from Chennai.

In throwing out the case, Justice CR Kumaraswamy said the prosecution had failed to prove Jayalalitha was guilty. He also acquitted three of Jayalalitha's aides in the same case.

Jayalalitha was forced last year to step down as the highest elected official in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, after a Bangalore court in September convicted her of possessing wealth disproportionate to her income and sentenced her to four years in prison.

She spent 21 days in jail before the Supreme Court granted her bail, after she argued that she needed medical attention for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, her lawyers appealed the conviction stemming from 1996 accusations of amassing 660 million rupees ($11m) at a time when she was taking a token 1 rupee as her monthly salary. They said the rival party in office, the DMK, had inflated the value of her assets, which they said had been obtained legally.

Jayalalitha joined politics in the early 1980s after a successful film career in southern India that included appearances in nearly 150 movies. She has had three stints as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, including her latest one, which began in May 2011.

Read more on:    india

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