Law is catching up fast with the V K Sasikala family after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s demise.
If Sasikala was convicted with her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi and nephew V N Sudhakaran earlier this year in a wealth case, now it is the turn of her husband M Natarajan to serve imprisonment in the car import case.
The case, dating to 1994, concluded in the special court in 2010, but the appeal was pending in the high court for seven years. Natarajan was charged with importing a brand new Lexus by falsely declaring it a used vehicle and causing a loss of Rs 1.62 crore to the government.
The CBI registered a case against Natarajan, V N Baskaran, Balakrishnan, Yogesh and Sujaritha Sundararajan. While four were convicted by an economic offences court in 2010, Balakrishnan was absconding. They moved the high court and obtained a stay on the conviction. On Friday, the high court upheld the lower court’s order of two year imprisonment.
In a related development, the enforcement directorate filed a case of foreign exchange regulation Act violation against the accused. Though Natarajan moved the special court to get discharged from the case, the court dismissed the petition in January. The ED case is still pending in the court.
Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dhinakaran is facing a FERA violation case. Charges in the case, dating to 2001, were framed in an Egmore court in June. It relates to investing $1.04 crore in a bank account of a Virgin Islands firm without prior RBI permission. On Thursday the high court upheld trial court conviction against RBI Baskaran, Dhinakaran’s brotherin-law, and his wife B Sreedaladevi in a case where Baskaran was charged with amassing Rs 1.69 crore in a short time, while a clerk in the RBI.
If these cases relate to alleged crimes by Sasikala’s family members when J Jayalalithaa was chief minister from 1991 to 1996, they are not yet out of trouble.
Over the past week, Income Tax searches on 188 premises in TN, Karnataka, Puducherry and AP uncovered unaccounted investments of more than Rs 1,400 crore and seized Rs 7.14 crore in cash and Rs 5 crore in gold ornaments. It would be interesting to see the impact the verdicts have on the ‘hold’ the family has on the AIADMK and its legislature wing.