One more alleged benamidar of Sasikala moves HC against I-T department action


V.S.J. Dinakaran, co-owner of Spectrum shopping center at Perambur in Chennai, has approached the Madras High Court contesting the Income Tax Department’s declare that he was among the many benamidars of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s jailed aide V.Ok. Sasikala.

Justice R. Mahadevan on Thursday directed the Income Tax department to file an in depth counter affidavit inside two weeks to his writ petition difficult proceedings initiated below the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act of 1988.

After The Hindu had, in December final, reported extensively the Income Tax department’s declare of Sasikala having used ₹1,911 crore of demonetised foreign money notes to buy malls and mills, a quantity of her alleged benamidars had begun to strategy the Madras High Court one after one other.

In his plea, Mr. Dinakaran mentioned he was primarily concerned within the enterprise of cash lending, chit fund and buying and selling of waste paper. Denying that he was a benamidar of Sasikala with respect to Spectrum Mall, he mentioned the mall was truly a three way partnership between Ganga Foundations Private Limited and two different landowners D.V. Balaji and I. Shanmugadurai.

On June 27, 2011, the petitioner had bought an undivided share of 4,554 sq ft within the mall from Mr. Shanmugadurai for a legitimate consideration. In January 2012, he bought 6,581 sq ft more and in addition purchased one of the outlets within the mall.

Claiming ignorance about any potential transaction between different promoters of the mall and Sasikala, his counsel M.R. Venkatesh asserted that the petitioner was personally not concerned in any such transaction. He mentioned there was nothing on file to contain his shopper within the concern.

The Income Tax officers had neither produced any MoU with respect to Spectrum Mall nor proved that his shopper had deposited any money in his financial institution accounts. No proceedings for capital acquire had additionally been initiated up to now, he instructed Justice Mahadevan earlier than M. Sheela, Special Public Prosecutor for the Income Tax department, undertook to file an in depth counter affidavit.

Case historical past

After the dying of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, the Supreme Court discovered Sasikala and her sister-in-law N. Ilavarasi responsible in a disproportionate property case and sentenced them to 4 years of imprisonment on February 14, 2017.

However, in October 2017, Sasikala got here out on emergency parole for 5 days to satisfy her then ailing husband M. Natarajan.

Then, she stayed within the residence of her niece J. Krishnapriya at Habibulla Road in T. Nagar.

Suspecting that the actual motive behind acquiring parole was to take inventory of alleged monetary transactions that had been carried out after the demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 foreign money notes on November 8, 2016, the Income Tax department searched the residence.

The search supposedly led to the invention of images of the back and front pages of a single unfastened sheet from Ms. Krishnapriya’s cell phone. The sheet contained an inventory of properties and totally different figures written throughout these names with the suffix ‘paid’ and ‘to be paid’ and the niece reportedly conceded to have taken the pictures when her aunt was residing in her home.

After just a few more searches at related locations and acquiring statements from individuals concerned, the department felt {that a} novel modus operandi appeared to have been adopted by Sasikala, after demonetisation, to spend big money stash of ₹1,911 crore saved in carton bins at numerous locations in Chennai and the Kodanad Estate owned collectively by her and Jayalalithaa.

Of the whole quantity, ₹1,674 crore was used for buying properties and the remaining of ₹237 crore, additionally in demonetised notes, was given as mortgage to authorities contractor T.S. Kumarasamy of Tiruchengode-based Christy Friedgram Industry, which provides provisions for the nutritious meal scheme in authorities colleges, the I-T department claimed.

Promoters of excessive worth properties resembling purchasing malls, paper mills, wind mills and resorts in Chennai, Coimbatore, Kancheepuram, Puducherry and Madurai had been the targets for the crime. After discovering that they had been determined to promote their properties however unable to get good presents, she allegedly agreed to pay a good-looking quantity provided that it could be in demonetised notes.

The promoters agreed for the deal and accepted the demonetised notes. An element of the money receipts was utilized by them to settle loans of smaller quantities that they had obtained from totally different people and the remaining was deposited of their financial institution accounts by falsifying different enterprise transactions for the reason that Centre had granted time until December 30, 2016 for depositing demonetised notes in financial institution accounts.

The transactions had been carried out after making the promoters signal particular person Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), acknowledging the receipt of cash, however none of these paperwork contained the identify of the purchaser. Since the MoUs had neither resulted in registration of sale deeds nor switch of shares, the I-T department termed the promoters to be her benamis.

However, denying that they had been benamis, some of the sellers approached the High Court stating that the whole transaction carried out with them was a ploy to transform black cash into white. After the MoUs had been signed and the demonetised notes had been deposited in financial institution accounts, Sasikala’s associates cancelled the offers and sought return of cash, they claimed.

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