The special court for economic offenses on Wednesday sentenced state secondary education minister K Parthasarathy to a two-month imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 515,000 in a Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (Fera) violations case, which was initiated by the Enforcement Directorate against his firm over 11 years ago.
The case relates to the import of certain equipment way back in 1999 by KPR Teleproducts Limited, promoted by Parthasarathy, who is also the MD of the company. The ED held that the company had not only failed to pay the import duty on the equipment but also violated the Fera regulations in the process.
After the company failed to comply with the earlier directions, issued in 2003, to pay Rs 300,000 penalty, the ED officials filed a fresh petition before the special court for economic offenses against the minister and the firm.
After hearing the case, the court found them guilty on two counts of non-payment of import duty as well as violation of the provisions of Fera. Imposing a 2-month jail term on the minister, the judge, however granted relief to him by keeping the orders under suspension for one month to enable the guilty to appeal against today's court ruling.
Speaking to reporters, the minister said he would approach the high court.
“This case is pertaining to a private business transaction, which happened when I had not even entered the public life," he said when asked about the Opposition demand for his resignation. Opposition leaders have asked the chief minister to sack his cabinet colleague following the court sentence.