Even as former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala is serving prison time at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru, three bodies seek to probe her for various cases over her involvement.
Income Tax Department
The I-T Department had reportedly filed a request with officials at the Parappana Agrahara jail in January. According to one report in the Times of India, the IT Department will question Sasikala in prison on December 13 and 14 over documents seized in a November 2017 raid at the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, which she also calls home.
I-T raids rocked what was formerly the seat of power in Tamil Nadu, nine months after Sasikala was sentenced in the Disproportionate Assets case by the Supreme Court. I-T sleuths searched the office of Jayalalithaa’s long-time personal secretary Poongundran as well as the room of Sasikala, recovering key documents.
According to one I-T Department official quoted in the Times of India, “We want to question her in connection with the searches conducted in her room at the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa as well as in other places. We have seized several documents, papers and pen drives from Sasikala’s room. It is part of the investigation. We have checked the pen drives, hard disks and papers seized. We need to question her to take the probe forward.”
It was also reported on Friday that the Enforcement Directorate has sought to quiz Sasikala over her involvement in alleged Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violations, issuing summons to her. According to one report in The Hindu, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Court, Egmore, has issued a warrant to produce the leader before the court. The newspaper reports that while charges had been framed against Sasikala and her nephew Bhaskaran, neither had she signed the documents nor appeared before the court as directed earlier.
The dozen cases against Sasikala and nephew TTV Baskaran relate to the first-ever I-T raids on Jayalalithaa in 1996-1997. JJ TV, run by the Sasikala family, was brought under the scanner for illegal foreign exchange transactions at the channel.
The one-man panel probing the hospitalisation and death of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has also sought to interrogate Sasikala.
According to one report in the Hindustan Times, the Retd Justice Arumugasamy Commission has written to prison authorities in Bengaluru as well as Tamil Nadu Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi to facilitate the meeting. Soon after the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, allegations flew thick and fast on the role of Sasikala. Matters took a conspiratorial tone when it was revealed by Apollo Hospitals where Jayalalithaa underwent treatment that the hospital’s CCTV cameras in its corridors were shut off when she was being moved to different parts of the hospital, at the request of her security detail.
With three extensions already granted to the panel, a report is expected on February 24, 2019.