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Not an honourable acquittal: Swamy

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI NOV. 25. The Janata Party president, Subramanian Swamy, today said the AIADMK had no reason to celebrate the Supreme Court order in the TANSI land deal cases as the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, had not obtained an "honourable acquittal".

The order was by no means an exoneration of Ms. Jayalalithaa, and it did not represent a vindication of her claim of innocence, he said in a statement.

"The two judges expressed anguish that despite the suspicion of Ms. Jayalalithaa having committed an offence and despite knowing that she was prepared to go to any length to `save her skin', they were constrained by the four corners of the legal system not to find her guilty," said Dr. Swamy.

The judges had admonished her for lowering the esteem of the office of Chief Minister. They had asked her to atone for her attempt to grab property owned by a government corporation and return the TANSI property.

The censure came in the wake of a rebuke by another Bench in the disproportionate assets case against her, in which proceedings were transferred to Bangalore.

"Such a severe indictment had not been handed down to any Chief Minister in the history of modern India."

Ms. Jayalalithaa, Dr. Swamy said, should instruct her party workers to exercise restraint as they had "wrongly caricatured the judgment as victory, and debased the judicial system."

Code violated: Vaiko

The MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, demanded the resignation of Ms. Jayalalithaa in the light of the strictures passed by the court.

"She has violated the spirit of the code of conduct and does not have any moral authority to continue as Chief Minister." On the court's observation that it was upto Ms. Jayalalithaa to seek atonement, Mr. Vaiko said only those with a conscience could do so. "I sympathise with the Gods," he said, commenting on her remark that her acquittal was "God's will."

Property surrender won't do: PMK

The PMK founder, S. Ramadoss, said Ms. Jayalalithaa should own moral responsibility for the strictures.

The surrender of the TANSI property alone would not amount to atonement, he said in a statement. The judges also wanted her to atone for her act by "answering her conscience". The AIADMK celebrations could not remove the need for her to own moral responsibility.

Moral responsibility

The Tamil Nadu Congress president, G. K. Vasan, said legally Ms. Jayalalithaa might have been acquitted. But, ``morally, she is responsible for her actions''. The court had made a lot of observations, which meant ``a lot'' for the common man. Those in high positions should maintain the decorum of their offices.

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