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Accused seeks charge sheet documents in Tamil

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 20. A special court here will pass orders on January 23 on a petition filed by an accused in the "disproportionate wealth case" against the former All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLA, V. Panneerselvam, seeking translation of the documents in the charge sheet, which are in English.

P. Janakiammal, second accused, submitted that she was an illiterate. Several pages in the documents furnished to her were in English. She was not conversant with any language except Tamil. As per a Madras High Court decision, an accused was "entitled to receive the copies in the language known to him or her. She sought the translated version of all the documents.

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), prosecuting agency, said the petition had been filed only to protract the proceedings. Most of the documents were in Tamil.

"For an illiterate person, Tamil or English language does not matter as counsel will be present in the court." Referring to the petitioner's submission on the High Court order, the prosecution said that a single judge without considering the actual words in Section 207 Cr.PC (supplying copy of a police report and other documents to the accused) concluded that the language of the subordinate criminal courts was Tamil and the proceedings should be only in that language. The precedents of larger Benches were not brought to the court's notice. The provision did not require courts to translate any document into Tamil or any other language and furnish it to the accused. If the documents were translated, errors might occur.

The accused could get the documents translated through counsel, the prosecution said praying that the court dismiss the petition as it was devoid of merits.

Besides Mr. Panneerselvam, who represented Bodinaickanur in the previous AIADMK rule, and Ms. Janakiammal and one Dhanabaghyam, has been cited as accused. The prosecution case is that Mr. Panneerselvam accumulated wealth to the tune of Rs. 21.36 lakhs which was "disproportionate to known sources of his income."

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