Today was the Chief Minister's fourth appearance in the court. She answered 190 questions today; yesterday, she had replied to 600 queries. Today, the questioning lasted for nearly four hours, after which the Chief Minister headed back to Chennai.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for November 29. But Ms Jayalalithaa need not be present in court for it.
The disproportionate case against Ms Jayalalithaa goes back to 1991-1996, when she as Chief Minister is alleged to have amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income. She is accused No 1 in the Rs. 66-crore case.
In 2003, the case was transferred to a Bangalore court for a free and fair trial after a petition in the Supreme Court by DMK leader K Anbazhagan.
The Chief Minister had earlier repeatedly appealed in the Supreme Court seeking exemption from personal appearance during hearing; she said that she did not want to inconvenience the people of Bangalore and so wanted permission to answer questions in writing. On November 4, the top court turned down her appeal, but said she should be given a date of her choice.
When Ms Jayalalithaa arrived in Bangalore yesterday to resume her deposition, it was a deja vu moment for the city. A 25-car convoy led her to the court from the old airport, a fleet of policemen were pressed into service from dawn to dusk on the road that leads to this special court and a tight security blanket was thrown around the route.
Her first date with this court was on October 20. She flew back to Chennai and returned to Bangalore the next day as the proceedings spilled over into the second day.
Then too, several hundreds of policemen were brought in for duty. Also, CCTVs were put up on this sanitized route.
Like on all her previous appearances, elaborate security arrangements were in place today too. The Chief Minister had a security detail of cops drawn from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Police in addition to the National Security Guards (NSG).