Madras HC orders release of former Minister K. Ponnusamy’s seized properties

The Madras High Court has directed the State government to release properties worth ₹77.49 lakh in 1997, apart from 1,000 grams of gold jewellery seized from the wife and daughter of K. Ponnusamy who had held the post of Minister of Education in former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s cabinet between May 1993 and 1996.

Allowing a criminal appeal preferred by P. Prabavathy and P. Mala in 2000 and pending in the court since then, Justice M.V. Muralidaran ordered that the confiscated properties should be released immediately since the accused had already been acquitted from a disproportionate assets case booked against them.

The order was passed though the appellants remained unrepresented in the appeal either in person or through their counsel. The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) had booked the criminal case against the former minister and his family members immediately after the DMK came to power in the State in May 1996.

According to the prosecution, Mr. Ponnusamy was employed as a lecturer in a government arts college before he entered politics and joined the AIADMK. He was in a very poor financial condition and struggling to repay debts until he got elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Marungapuri constituency in 1991.

Thereafter, he assumed office as a Deputy Speaker in the Legislative Assembly on July 3, 1991 and became the Education Minister on May 17, 1993. It was only thereafter, he started amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income in the names of his wife, a home maker and college-going daughter.

Properties had also been purchased in the names of his brother and the latter’s son. Further, his chartered accountant was also accused of having assisted him to acquire foreign currencies worth ₹56.30 lakh using his ill-gotten money. However, the accused had denied all charges and claimed to have acquired the money through finance business.

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