Chennai, Dec 20 – In a major setback, the Madras High Court on Tuesday convicted
senior DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K.Ponmudy and his wife in
a disproportionate assets case.
While convicting the Minister and his wife P. Visalatchi in the DA case, the Court also quashed
their acquittal by a lower court in 2016.
The quantum of the sentence will be pronounced on December 21, Mr Justice G Jayachandran
said, while finding the couple guilty and directed them to appear before the court on Thursday for
the pronouncement of the sentence.
It may be recalled that the Lower Court had acquitted them earlier. However, the High Court taking
serious objections over the hasty manner in which the lower court handled the case and acquitted
them, took suo motu cognisance of the matter and filed a revision petition, resulting in the present
he Supreme Court set aside Ponmudy’s exoneration in 2014, saying the evidence against him was
improperly appraised. The charges were later framed against Ponmudy in 2015.
The trial was shifted from Villupuram to Vellore, where Ponmudy and his wife were acquitted.
Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras high court reopened Ponmudy’s case on August 10 after taking up suo moto revisions of acquittals of six politicians including ministers. Justice Jayachandran heard the case following a roster change.
The Supreme Court rejected the couple’s pleas against Justice Venkatesh taking up the case. “Thank God we have judges like Justice Anand Venkatesh in our system,” said a Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud-led bench in November.
Mr Ponmudy and his son Gautham Sigamani, the Lok Sabha MP from Kallakurichi, were questioned
by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a 2011 case of money laundering linked to
alleged illegal sand mining.
The ED had alleged that Ponmudy violated the Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concessions Act during his
tenure as Minister of Mines and Minerals between 2006 and 2011 when the DMK was in power. It has also accused Ponmudy of allocating an illegal red sand quarry in Poothurai in Vanur block, valued at
around Rs 28.37 crore.
Ponmudy, who hails from the state’s Villupuram district, was a six-time MLA and was a powerful DMK strongman in the Villuppuram-Kallakurichi belt.