SC allows trial against Jaya, aide in tax evasion case

SC allows trial against Jaya, aide in tax evasion case

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave a green signal to prosecute Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha for not filing income tax returns in 1993-94 while pulling her up for adopting delaying tactics to install proceedings against her.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri rejected a plea by the AIADMK leader, her aide S Sasikala and the firm Sasi Enterprises, a partnership venture of Jayalalitha and Sasikala, seeking discharge from the case.

The apex court also ordered to complete the trial against them in four months. They were being tried under Section 276CC of the Income Tax Act, which carries a maximum jail term of seven years.

Dismissing four appeals filed by Jayalalitha and others, the court also noted that the accused challenged every decision taken against them by the IT department up to the higher courts and advised courts to remain guarded against such tactics.

“Each and every order passed by the revenue as well as by the courts were taken up before the higher courts, either through appeals, revisions or writ petitions. The details of the various proceedings in respect of these appeals … reveal the dilatory tactics adopted in these cases. Courts, we caution, be guarded against those persons who prefer to see it as a medium for stalling all legal processes,” the bench said.

Jayalalitha’s final tax liability was determined at Rs 12,54,395 as per the order of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal after giving credit to pre-paid tax and for Sasikala it was Rs 9,81,870. The firm's tax liability was Rs 32,63,482 for the assessment year 1991-92 and Rs 52,47,594 for 1992-93.

Sasi Enterprises was formed as a partnership firm by a deed dated February 6, 1989 with Sasikala and one T V Dinakaran as its partners, which was later reconstituted with effect from May 4, 1990 with Jayalalithaa and Sasikala as partners.

The prosecution against all the four was initiated for not filing returns and due to non-compliance of the various statutory provisions on the basis of complaints filed on August 21, 1997 before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. The Madras HC has also allowed proceedings against them.

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