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Madras HC upholds 2-year jail term for Sasikala’s husband, 4 others in car import case

The high court’s verdict came as yet another blow to the Sasikala-led rebel faction of the ruling AIADMK

india Updated: Nov 17, 2017 20:42 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Madras High Court,VK Sasikala,AIADMK
The Madras high court on Friday upheld conviction of VK Sasikala ‘s husband M Natarajan and four others by a CBI court for evading custom duty while importing a luxury car. (PTI File Photo )

The Madras high court on Friday upheld a two-year prison sentence for M Natarajan, husband of jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala, and four others in a custom duty evasion case.

The order came as a further blow to the Sasikala-led rebel faction of the ruling party.

Natarajan’s house was also among the properties of various Sasikala relatives raided by the Income Tax Department earlier this month for alleged tax evasion.

Sasikala herself is serving a four-year prison term in a disproportionate assets case.

The high court held five persons, including Natarjan, guilty of evading duty to the tune of Rs 1 crore while importing a luxury car, Lexus, in 1994, by allegedly forging the model of the car in the documents.

Apart from Natarajan, four others against whom the CBI, which investigated the case, pressed charges are V Bhaskaran, S Balarkrishnan ( based in London) his son Yogesh Balakrishnan, Sujaritha Sundararajan, a branch manager in the Indian Bank and assistant branch manager R Bhavani.

Among the accused, Balakrishnan is absconding while Bhavani turned an approver and gave evidence against the others.

Following the trial, the CBI court in 2010 awarded two-year jail term to each of the convicts. The conviction was challenged by Natarajan and others in the Madras High Court.

Pronouncing the judgement, high court judge Justice D Jayachandran refused to give time to Natarajan to surrender.

Now the CBI would have to procure an arrest warrant and proceed in the matter.

Sasikala and members of her extended family, dubbed as Mannargudi clan by her detractors, have diverse business interests, and wield considerable political clout in Tamil Nadu.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 17:47 IST