The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with a 2011 Madras High Court order quashing a case against late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and two others for allegedly receiving unaccounted gifts worth over Rs 2 crore, PTI reported. Two of the accused –Jayalalithaa and former minister Azhagu Thirunavukkarasu – have died while the third, KA Sengotaiyyan, is a minister in the state government.

The Supreme Court rejected the Central Bureau of Investigation plea on the grounds that two of the three accused have died. It said the High Court had also observed that there was an inordinate delay in filing the case.

Senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija, appearing for the CBI, claimed there had been no delay in filing the case. She said the High Court order will set a wrong precedent and should be therefore set aside. However, the Supreme Court pointed to facts and circumstances of the case and the order by the High Court to reject the CBI’s petition for intervention.

“There is absolutely no justification for subjecting the petitioner [Jayalalithaa] to undergo the ordeal of trial after the inordinate and unexplained delay and further continuance of the criminal proceedings pending against her would certainly amount to abuse of process of court,” the High Court order had said. It also passed similar orders for the other two accused.

The case relates to late Jayalalithaa allegedly receiving unaccounted gifts worth around Rs 2.09 crore in 1991. The central agency had said that though the former chief minister received the gifts between 1991 and 1993, the matter came to light only in 1996, and hence there was no delay in filing the case.