Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sasikalaa's discharge in ED case set aside by Madras HC

 In a verdict which could jeopardise AIADMKgeneral secretary V K Sasikalaa's political ambitions and could make her face trial in a 20-year-old crime investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Madras high court has set aside her discharge in a money laundering case.

A total of six cases had been filed against Sasikalaa, companies in which she was partner and her nephew TTV Dinakaran, who was former AIADMK MP.

On May 18, 2015, an economic offences court at Egmore in Chennai discharged Sasikalaa from the Bharani Beach Resorts case in which she had been charged with transferring 19.9 lakh US dollars (about Rs 3 crore as per the exchange rate then) through a staff member at Indian Bank's Abhiramapuram branch. She was booked under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).

The judge also discharged Dinakaran in two cases investigated by the ED -- one pertaining to transfer of 1.04 crore US dollars to Dipper Investment through Barclay Bank, Virgin Islands, and the other relating to transfer of 44.37 lakh pounds through Westbank Limited, Ireland. As for the other three cases concerning the companies where Sasikalaa and her kin were partners, the court had dismissed the discharge pleas.

While the ED had filed the present appeals questioning the discharge of Sasikalaa and others, the latter, on their part, challenged dismissal of their discharge petitions in respect of the companies.

All the six verdicts went against them on Wednesday, when Justice G Chockalingam allowed the ED's appeals while rejecting Sasikalaa kin's revision pleas. 
According to the ED, the three companies in which Sasikalaa was partner, were involved violation of FERA rules at various stages for the erstwhile JJTV's uplinking facilities. One of them is about alleged transfer of 5 lakh US dollars to two foreign companies - Rimsat and Subiqbay. The second case is about transfer of 10.45 lakh Singapore dollars to a company named Appooffezz. The money was routed through two persons -- Ramachandran and Rangesh -- according to the ED. Another one pertains to transfer of 36.36 lakh US dollars through unauthorized channels.

Now that the status quo ante has been restored with the quashing of their discharge from the case, the economic offences court shall fix dates for commencement of trial, while the parties concerned could file appeals in the Supreme Court.

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