Setting up of 10 firms in a day shows conspiracy to launder: SC

Setting up of 10 firms in a day shows conspiracy to launder: SC

As many as 10 companies were set up in just one day to launder ill-gotten wealth, the Supreme Court has noted in its judgment convicting AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala and two others guilty of hatching a conspiracy in this regard.

A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy upheld the trial court findings and said these firms were nothing but extension of Namadhu MGR and Jaya Publications and that they owed their existence to the benevolence of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the current AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala.

The apex court said the trial court had "correctly" come to the conclusion on such a reasoning.

The bench said that "the constitution of various firms during the check period was another circumstance establishing the conspiracy between the parties. It has come in evidence that 10 firms were constituted on a single day."

The court noted that as many as 34 firms fell for scrutiny in the course of adjudication and most of them were formed only during the July 1, 1991 to April 30, 1996, the period in which the convicts amassed disproportionate assets.

It noted that while six of these firms were registered on January 25, 1994, ten were registered on February 15, 1995, and said that "this co-incidence also is conspicuously abnormal and irreconcilable."

"In addition, Sasikala and A3 (Sasikala's relative and Jayalalithaa's foster son V N Sudhakaran) started independent concerns and apart from buying properties, no other business activity was undertaken by them. The circumstances proved in evidence undoubtedly establish that these firms are nothing but extensions of Namadhu MGR and Jaya Publications and they owed their existence to the benevolence of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala," the apex court said.

It also held that "most of the firms and companies were operating from the residence of Jayalalithaa and it cannot be accepted that she was unaware of the same even though she feigned ignorance about the activities carried on by Sasikala to A4 (Sasikala's relative J Elavarasi). They were residing with Jayalalthaa without any blood relation between them."

It also said that although Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi claimed to have independent sources of income, but the fact of setting up of these firms and acquisition of large tracts of land out of the funds provided by Jayalalithaa, indicated that all the accused congregated in the house of former TN Chief Minister, neither for social living, nor did she allow them free accommodation out of humanitarian concern.

It said the facts and circumstances undoubtedly pointed out that Sasikala, Elavarasi and Sudhakaran were accommodated in the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa pursuant to the criminal conspiracy hatched by them to hold the assets of the late leader.

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