Bangalore, Feb 18: Sasikala Natarajan, estranged aide of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, today deposed before a special court here in the wealth case against them, absolving the AIADMK supremo of any responsibility in the handling of companies in which the two were partners.
Answering questions from Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah pertaining to Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises, Sasikala, second accused in the 15-year old case, told the court that she alone managed the affairs of the companies and Jayalalithaa was only a ‘dormant partner'.
“Selvi Jayalalithaa was not involved in the affairs of the firm (Jaya Publications). I alone operated the bank account of the firm. Jayalalithaa was a partner who was not involved in the affairs of the firm”, she said.
To another question on Sasi Enterprises, Sasikala's submission was similar. “True, as a partner, I was managing the affairs of Sasi Enterprises. In this firm, Jayalalithaa was not involved in any affairs. I alone operated the bank account. Jayalalithaa was a dormant partner”, she stated.
The recording of Sasikala's statement began after the Judge rejected her application seeking adjournment of the process citing pendency of her Special Leave Petition on the translation issue in Supreme Court.
Out of about 1,000 odd questions framed by the court, Sasikala answered 40 which were translated into English by interpreter K S Harish.
The Judge then adjourned the recording of the statement to February 23.
Earlier the court had completed the recording of Jayalalithaa's statement in November last year when she answered 1,339 questions.
The case related to alleged accumulation of wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income when Jayalalithaa was the chief minister from 1991-95.
Jayalalithaa during her deposition had maintained that the case against her was ‘politically motivated' and ‘fabricated' at the instance of her rival DMK.
On the property acquisitions by the companies,Jayalalithaa had said, she was a dormant partner and not involved in the day-to-day activities and hence had no knowledge about them.
Responding to questions pertaining to financial transactions on purchase of lands connected with the two firms, Sasikala said she was taking care of the administration of Jaya Publications and explained the source of payment.
Out of the 40 questions posed by the judge, Sasikala answered to only 25 of them and pleaded ignorance for the rest.
Apart from Sasikala, the other two accused in the case, V Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were also present in the court.
The Judge adjourned proceedings to February 23 after Sasikala's senior counsels N Kumar and C Manishankhar pleaded inconvenience to attend the proceedings on a continuous basis submitting they had other commitments in Chennai court.
At this, Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya raised serious objection stating that the Supreme Court had directed that the case must go on day-today basis.
Speaking to reporters later, counsel Kumar said many questions related to partnership firms in which Jayalalithaa was a “silent partner and not directly involved at all”.
Acharya said the most of the answers given by Sasikala “support Jayalalithaa's version that she was a silent partner in some of the firms which have been named in the case”.
Sasikala, a long-time close associate of Jayalalithaa, was recently expelled along with several of her relatives from the AIADMK.