The Income Tax
department on late Friday night conducted raids at jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader V K Sasikala and her relatives' properties in Chennai's Poes Garden.
Soon after the raid, heavy security has been deployed to avoid any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, Jaya TV CEO Vivek Jayaraman arrives in Poes Garden as IT raids continue.
Condemning the raids, sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran supporter and former MLA, V P Kalairajan told media, "This is just political vendetta and targeting of one family".
This swoop comes after November 9, where the I-T official raided Sasikala's family members and premises of Jaya TV in Chennai and unearthed an unaccounted income of over Rs 1,400 crore.
The raids on 187 locations, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad and New Delhi, were conducted by over 1,000 officials, who split into more than a dozen teams on day one of the searches on November 9.
The raids were conducted based on inputs, including those from the Finance Ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit.
The office of Tamil channel Jaya TV in Chennai, TTV Dhinakaran's farm house off Auroville near Puducherry and premises of several other relatives of Sasikala at various other places were searched.
Sasikala nephew says raids ‘don't seem to be politically motivated’
Earlier, Sasikala's nephew and head of Jaya TV Vivek Jayaraman said raids at properties linked to their family members and associates "don't seem" to be politically motivated.
Jayaraman told reporters here that I-T sleuths posed various questions about companies headed by him, including Jazz Cinemas, besides seeking accounts for the jewels worn by his wife during their wedding.
He said it was explained "in detail" to them.
When asked if the raids were politically motivated, Jayaraman said "it doesn't seem so".
"They (taxmen) have done their duty and we are answerable (to them).. Every citizen of the country has to pay income tax.
. I am clear about that," he said.
It was the "duty" of a citizen to pay taxes and anyone found violating the law was "liable" to face action, Jayaraman said.
On details of seizures made during the raids, he said the sleuths queried about documents on "general accounts".
"There were documents in the companies, general documents, about general accounts. So the questions were raised about these documents.
"We are into movies, distribution of movies, so they asked questions about agreements concerning them. We have answered them clearly," he said.
Asserting that he would present accounts of his wife's jewels, Jayaraman said, "We are ready to answer whatever queries posed by I-T officials in the future".
In an apparent reference to the searches, he said, "Let's not hype what's not true."
HC upholds 2-year jail term for Sasikala's husband
The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld a trial court order sentencing M Natarajan, husband of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, and three others to two years imprisonment in a 23-year-old duty evasion case connected to import of a luxury car from the United Kingdom.
Natarajan and three others were convicted for conspiracy, forgery, cheating and tax evasion and sentenced to two years in jail in the case by a CBI court in 2010. All the four challenged the order.
When the pleas came up today, Justice G Jayachandran said there is ample evidence placed before the court by the prosecution to show that these accused were involved in cheating the government by producing forged documents.
Dismissing their petitions, the judge directed the trial court to secure the accused and remand them to judicial custody to undergo remaining period of the sentence, if any.
The Lexus car with engine capacity of 3000 cc which is not in compliance with the residence transfer provision has been imported with fabricated documents, the judge said.
The provision clearly restricts the import of car above 1,600 cc by Indian nationals or foreign nationals of Indian origin coming to India for permanent settlement, unless the said importer has stayed abroad continuously for a period of at least two years and had used the car at least for one year before the date of import, the judge said.
The court noted that many senior customs officials who were part of the "conspiracy" were not prosecuted in the case.
"It is unfortunate that senior customs officers who were the members of the conspiracy were not prosecuted, since the prosecuting agency was refused sanction by competent authority. This cannot be the reason to allow the other conspirators to go scot-free."
This court opines that this is high time to revisit the law mandating sanction under Prevention of Corruption Act, and subject it to judicial scrutiny, the judge said.
Similarly, refusal to accord sanction should also be subject to judicial scrutiny so that improper exercise of power by unscrupulous person shielding his subordinate shall be averted, the judge added.
The judge then directed the trial court to secure the accused and remand them to judicial custody to undergo the remaining period of sentence, if any.
The case relates to the import of a Toyota Lexus car in 1994, declaring it as a used vehicle and thereby allegedly evading tax to the tune of Rs 1.06 crore.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate had registered separate cases against Natarajan and three others after it was found that the documents presented by them were fabricated.
According to CBI, Natarajan, along with three others — his nephew V Bhaskaran, Yogesh Balakrishnan and Sujaritha Sundararajan substituted the original sale invoice with a photocopy of an invoice fabricated by changing the vehicle's manufacturing date to July 1993.
They cleared the car under transfer of residence provision, and thereby caused a of Rs 1.06 crore to the exchequer by way of short levy, penalty and redemption fine, the CBI said.