Jaya ordered to appear in I-T case on Apr 10;Relief in B'lore

Jaya ordered to appear in I-T case on Apr 10;Relief in B'lore
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today suffered a setback when a court ordered her to appear before it on April 10 to face trial in an IT return case but escaped a similar fate in her assets case after the special court in Bangalore revised its directive and exempted her presence on security grounds.

Rejecting her plea for exemption from personal appearance citing hectic electioneering work as not maintainable, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) in Chennai R Dakshinamurthy warned that if Jayalalithaa failed to appear before him on April 10, "appropriate orders" would be passed.

"No more petitions for condoning her absence and for adjourning the case will be entertained. Otherwise suitable orders will be passed in accordance with law," the ACMM said.

In Bangalore, a special court, trying the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case, initially ordered Jayalalithaa and three other accused to appear before it on April 5, but later revised the order to exempt the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister from appearing due to security reasons.

Special Court Judge John Michael Cunha accepted the submission of registry of Karnataka High Court that it would not be possible to provide security at a short notice for Jayalalithaa's appearance before the court.

Cunha said she could be summoned at a later date, which came as a relief to Jayalalithaa who is spearheading her AIADMK's campaign for April 24 Lok Sabha elections.

Other accused in the case including her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were directed to appear on April 5.

ACMM Dakshinamurthy dismissed the petition of Jayalalithaa seeking exemption from personal appearance in compliance with his March 20 order.

Her counsel B Kumar sought exemption saying his client, who is also the head of AIADMK, was engaged in extensive electioneering for her party in Lok Sabha polls, which was strongly objected to by Special Public Prosecutor K Ramasamy.

The court exempted Sasikala, also a co-accused in the case, from appearance for today on health grounds, however directed that she shall be present on April 10.

The case related to non-filing of income tax returns in 1993-94 by the two in their individual capacity. Complaints were also filed by the IT department for allegedly failing to file returns for the assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93 by Sasi Enterprises and its partners, Jayalalithaa and Sasikala.

They are being prosecuted under Section 276CC of the Income Tax Act, which provides for rigorous imprisonment for a term ranging from 6 months to 7 years in cases where the amount of tax evasion detected exceeds Rs 1 lakh.
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