CHENNAI: A court here today adjourned income tax return cases against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her aide Sasikala to July 24 after they cited pendency of their plea for compounding the alleged offences.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) R Dakshinamurthy allowed the petitions of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, who did not appear in the court, seeking adjournment on the ground that their plea filed before Income Tax authorities for compounding the offences was pending.
The ACMM had on June 9 directed Jayalalithaa and Sasikala to appear before him today "without fail" for questioning and answering charges in the cases filed against them for not filing returns from 1991-94.
When the matter came up today, senior counsel for defence B Kumar filed a petition stating that the two had filed an application before the Income Tax department for compounding the offences alleged against them.
"The processing of the application has been acknowledged by the department in the letter dated June 25 issued by the Director-General of Income Tax (Investigations), Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry...Therefore, until the compounding application is decided on merits, further proceedings before this court may not be initiated," he said.
He also said his clients' personal appearance today was not warranted in view of the new development and wanted the matter to be adjourned to the third week of July for hearing.
Special Public Prosecutor Ramaswamy also confirmed the filing of the application before I-T.
"The petitions filed by the accused is allowed. The case is adjourned to July 24 and the defence counsel is directed to submit the status report of the compounding petitions before the Income Tax Department without fail," the ACMM said in a brief order.
The IT department had in 1996-97 initiated criminal proceedings against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala for allegedly not filing I-T returns in their individual capacity for 1993-94.
Cases were also filed against Sasi Enterprises represented by its partners, Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, for failure to file returns for the assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93.
The trial court had dismissed their discharge pleas and the Madras High Court had upheld the same in 2006.
Subsequently, special leave petitions filed by them in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict were also rejected on January 30.