A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, however, refused to stay the appeal proceedings before the Karnataka High Court and said that it will finally dispose of the petition of the DMK leader on March 18.

Besides the AIADMK chief, the bench also issued notices to other convicts-- close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, -- and Karnataka government on the petition of the DMK leader.

The petition has sought removal of public prosecutor Bhawani Singh, raising questions about his impartiality as prosecutor in the case.

Earlier, the apex court in December, 2014 had extended by four months the bail of Jayalalithaa and asked the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute a special bench to decide her plea expeditiously within three months.

On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa, who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27, saying that hearing on her appeal against conviction in High Court should be completed in five months from now.

The apex court had also granted bail to the AIADMK chief's close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives.     The 66-year-old politician, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after she was denied bail by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail in the case and she was also suffering from various ailments, as grounds for her immediate relief.

The Special Court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.

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