Editorial: Long arm of law

The Supreme Court delivered Tuesday two important verdicts in cases related to Tamilnadu. While one is about Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels owner P Rajagopal, the other one is a case against former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and two others for receiving unaccounted gift of over Rs 2 crore. In the first case, the apex court declined to entertain a plea of Rajagopal, seeking more time on medical grounds to surrender for serving life imprisonment in a murder case. A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana dismissed the plea of Rajagopal, saying his illness was not raised before it during the hearing of the appeal in the case.

Rajagopal was to surrender on 7 July to serve life term for murdering an employee in October 2001 to marry his wife. Earlier, an apex court bench had dismissed appeals of nine convicts, including Rajagopal, and upheld the Madras High Court verdict awarding life term to them. The High Court had in 2009 enhanced to life term the 10-year imprisonment awarded by a local court to Rajagopal and eight others in the murder case. Coming to the second case, the SC refused to interfere with the 2011 order of the Madras High Court quashing the case against Jayalalithaa and two others.

Jayalalithaa and former Minister Azhagu Thirunavukkarasu arrayed as accused by the CBI in the case have died while the third accused, K A Sengottaiyan, is the Minister for School Education in the present AIADMK government in Tamilnadu. A bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said since two of the three accused in the case have died and the High Court had observed that there was delay in filing the case, there is no point in interfering with the 2011 order. Time and again, courts have been proving that all hopes are not lost when it comes to delivering justice and no matter how powerful the accused is, the guilty would be punished.

NT Bureau