Indian Tamil leader cleared of corruption charges

The head of India's largest Tamil party has been cleared of corruption, sparking celebrations by supporters

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

An appeal court in India overturned the graft conviction of influential politician Jayalalithaa Jayaram on Monday.

Jayalalithaa was jailed and forced to stand down as chief minister of the southern Tamil Nadu state last year, after being found guilty of amassing unaccounted cash and property while in office.

The verdict, which opens the door for her return to power was celebrated by her supporters outside Jayalalithaa's party office in the state capital of Chennai.

The appeal court judge in Karnataka did not give a clear reason for the decision during the hearing that lasted just seconds.

Jayalalithaa, who has earned loyalty from voters with populist projects and freebies, will be able to run in an election next year.

The former movie star has a huge popularity in Tamil Nadu, as well as big influence in national politics.

Her party AIADMK holds the third largest number of seats in the lower house of parliament.

She is also regarded as being close to current prime minister Narendra Modi.

She was charged with corruption in 1997 after police seized 28 kilograms of gold, hundreds of shoes and thousands of saris during a raid on her home.

She was also accused of having two 1,000-acre estates. Jayalalithaa has always dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

TRTWorld and agencies