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Trial begins in IT case against Jayalalitha

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, DEC. 14. Trial proceedings in a complaint filed by the Income Tax department against the former Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalitha, for `wilful failure to file tax returns for 1993-94' have commenced, with the High Court recently vacating the stay against the proceedings.

The I.T. department had originally filed a complaint against her under Sec. 276 CC of the Income Tax Act for non-filing of returns. The department estimated her income for the relevant year at about Rs.1.04 crores, for which she was liable to remit a tax of Rs.46.68 lakhs. Now, with interest the current outstandings stood at over Rs.1 crore.

The department filed the chargesheet before the Addl.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offences Court-I), Egmore here, in 1996. Challenging the initiation of the case, Ms. Jayalalitha had moved the High Court, seeking to quash the proceedings. In November 1996, the High Court had stayed the proceedings. The department filed a petition contending that the trial was being indefinitely delayed because of the stay. Allowing the petition, Mr.Justice B Akbar Basha Khadiri had last month vacated the stay.

Following this the Department's senior special prosecutor, Mr. Ramasamy K., filed an application for summoning prosecution witnesses. The Addl. CMM (EO-I), Mr. P. Murugesan, directed issue of summons to Mr. V. Srinivasan, income tax officer for examination on December 27.

In a case of similar nature against M/s Sasi Enterprises, an income tax officer of Chennai, Mr. N. S. Venkatesan today tendered evidence before the Addl. CMM. The department's case was that the firm had wilfully failed to file income tax returns for 1991-92 and 1992-93. The tax dues ran to Rs.9.95 lakhs and Rs.22.72 lakhs for the two financial years. The hearing would continue on January 25 next.

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