Former IPS Officer Nallamma Naidu, who first probe Jayalalithaa's assets case, passes away in Chennai!

Former IPS Officer Nallamma Naidu has passed away in Chennai at the age of 83 in the wee hours of Tuesday - November 16, due to age-related ailments. He breathed his last in his residence in Peravallur in the outskirts of Chennai. Naidu had served as the Superintendent of Police of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), which is Tamil Nadu's premier anti-corruption agency.

He was a prominent face in the state and was the first officer to probe the disproportionate assets case lodged against late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 1996. This case has convicted Jayalalithaa for amassing more wealth and along with the former Chief Minister, her relatives VK Sasikala, Illavarasi, and Sudhakaran were also accused in the case. Naidu retired in 1997 and he also has authored a book with his experiences of probing Jayalalithaa's assets case  

The case against Jayalalithaa and others were filed based on the complaint moved by Subramanian Swamy in 1996 in which the latter had alleged that Jayalalithaa's assets had attained an exorbitant growth in five years while she was serving as the Chief Minister from 1991-96. During that election, Jayalalithaa had declared that she has assets worth Rs 2.6 crore and said that she will take Re 1 per month as the salary of the Chief Minister. However, in five years, her asset value grew to Rs 66.65 crore, which had drawn the allegations that she has amassed more wealth beyond her income sources. 

As per the complaint from Swamy, the DVAC had launched a probe into the matter and after a preliminary probe, an FIR was registered in September 1996 and Nallamma Naidu was appointed as the investigating officer. In December 1996, he got search warrants to conduct a search at Jayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden and the search went on for five days. During the search, Naidu's team had seized a pile of saree, gold, and other ornaments. 

Based on the search and evidence collected, Jayalalithaa's relatives VK Sasikala, Illavarasi, and Sudhakaran were named as the co-accused in the case while Jayalalithaa was the accused number one. Naidu had filed a charge sheet against all the accused in June 1997, months before his retirement. He in a way had become the root of the probe in Jayalalithaa's assets case and his investigation and findings played a vital role in convicting them. 

The case was first heard in the Madras High Court and it was later transferred to Bengaluru in 2003. Naidu's charge sheet was the main reason why Jayalalithaa was removed from the office and sent to prison. She had become the first Chief Minister in India to lose the post due to being convicted while in office. It must be noted that she was convicted for the third time overall and was forced to step down from the Chief Minister's office for the second time. 

The Disproportionate Assets case ran nearly for two decades and while the trial court in Bengaluru convicted all the four, the Karnataka High Court had later acquitted them. However, the special court chaired by Justice John Michael D'Cunha had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore. The rest three accused had also faced incarceration and later in 2015, Karnataka High Court had released them following which the Karnataka government appealed to the Supreme Court against this acquittal. 

                           File photo: Nallamma Naidu


Amid the trial in the apex court, Jayalalithaa had contested in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls in 2016 and become the Chief Minister. However, within months, she suffered a health setback and was hospitalized for 75 days in Chennai. She later passed away in December 2016 and following her demise, the Supreme Court had turned down the acquittal from the Karnataka High Court and convicted the three other accused in February 2017 and they had served four years incarceration in Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru. 

As the news of Nallamma Naidu's demise made headlines, several leaders and law enforcement officials have been paying tribute to him and expressing condolences to his family. It is pertinent to note that Naidu, who began his service in 1961 as a Sub-Inspector, had also served as the probing officer of CBI in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.