New Delhi: Chennai's Poes Garden, residence of late J Jayalalithaa, was the hub of conspiracy and the money flow from one account to another proved the existence of an "active conspiracy" to launder the then chief minister's "ill-gotten wealth" to purchase properties in the names of the shell companies, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.
The apex court said V K Sasikala and her two relatives - V N Sudhakaran, Jayalalithaa's foster son, and Elavarasi, the widow of Sasikala's elder brother, resided at Poes Garden with Jayalalithaa "without any blood relation between them." They were "accommodated" there, not on humanitarian concern, but pursuant to the conspiracy hatched by them.
"The flow of money from one account to the other proves that there existed active conspiracy to launder the ill-gotten wealth of Jayalalithaa for purchasing properties in the names of the firms," a bench of justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy said while convicting Sasikala and her relatives in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case.
"The joint residence of all the accused persons also could not be ignored as a factor contributing to the charge of conspiracy and abatement, when assessed together with the attendant facts and circumstances reinforcing the said imputations," the bench said.
The bench held that though Sasikala and her relatives had claimed to have independent sources of income, the fact regarding setting up of these firms and acquisition of large tracts of land out of the funds provided by Jayalalithaa indicated that there was a conspiracy among them.
The apex court also said that the conspiracy cannot be proved by direct evidence and has to be essentially inferred from the proven circumstances, "the ultimate conclusion with regard thereto has to be deduced from the attendant state of affairs cumulatively taken".