Tamil Nadu Minister K Ponmudy sentenced to 3 years in jail in disproportionate assets case

In a ₹1.75-crore disproportionate assets case, the Madras High Court on Thursday sentenced K Ponmudy, the state’s minister of higher education of Tamil Nadu, to three years of simple imprisonment, according to ANI.

Ponmudy and his wife were also fined 50 lakhs by the court.

On Tuesday, the Madras High Court convicted Ponmudy and his wife in the case, overturning a trial court’s order which acquitted them.

Ponmudy (72) amassing wealth disproportionately to the tune of 1.75 crore in his name and in the name of his spouse, which was 65.99% more than his known sources of income when he was a minister in the DMK-led regime from 2006 to 2011.

They were, however, acquitted in 2016 by a trial court in Villupuram. The high court overturned the verdict on Tuesday, stating that the accusation of crime punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was proven against both accused.

“A complete miscarriage of justice had occurred by the omission of reliable evidence and by mis-interpretation of the evidence,” Justice Jayachandran noted. “…the overwhelming evidence against the respondents and the unsustainable reasons given by the trial court for acquittal by ignoring those evidence compel this court to declare the judgment of the trial court is palpably wrong, manifestly erroneous and demonstrably unsustainable. Hence, this is a fit case for the appellate court to interfere and set it aside.”

“The trial court has failed to understand that, the substance of charge against A-2 is that, she being the wife of A-1 (public servant) holding the assets of A-1 which he had acquired through unknown source,” the court held. “Whether, the lack of capital/source to yield income proportionate to the properties acquired in the name of A-2 during the check period is the point which ought to have been first examined by the trial court…”

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