The Madras High Court Thursday directed the I-T department to apprise it of tax dues and status of recovery, if any, relating to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and also asked it whether it had any objection to the Government move to convert her home” Veda Nilayam” into a memorial.
A division bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and Anita Sumanth gave the direction on a PIL by social activist 'Traffic' Ramaswamy, challenging the announcement made by the government to convert Jayalalitha’s posh Poes Garden residence into a memorial.
The court also directed the authorities concerned including the Corporation of Chennai to file an affidavit on the nature of the properties so far declared as memorials for political leaders. It ordered the State Government to furnish details regarding the Act governing conversion of private or Government property into a memorial for political leaders.
The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to Jan 24.
The petitioner opposed the move to convert Jaya’s residence into a memorial on the ground that she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case by a Bengaluru special court and was fined Rs 100 crore fine and awarded four years RI. IT was upheld by the Supreme Court. He further submitted that her residence was one of the properties listed as disproportionate to her assets by the trial court.
The petitioner moved the court after the government initiated the survey of the property. The Income Tax department carried out searches at Veda Nilayam in connection with the Gutkha scam in 2017
.In his counter on behalf of the State Government, secretary in the Information Department R Venkatesan said the Supreme Court had rejected Karnataka’s review petition that it be allowed to recover the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on Jayalalitha from her estate.
He also said IT enquiry had no relevance to the acquisition of land in Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden for raising a memorial and the Government would give necessary assistance of IT authorities, if need be.
He said the Government had converted houses of great Tamil poet Bharathiyar and former Chief Ministers K Kamaraj and C N Annadurai into memorials. It was seeking to raise a memorial for Jayalalitha in recognition of her contribution to the society.