Sasikala’s benami  assets attached
Tamil Nadu

Sasikala’s benami assets attached

S Murari

Assets worth Rs 1600 crore owned by ousted AIADMK leader V K Sasikala and reportedly held by her benamis have been seized by the income tax department. Nine of these properties were bought after the note ban.

These properties have been provisionally attached under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, Income Tax department sources said on Monday. These nine properties in Chennai, Puducherry, and Coimbatore, were allegedly bought after the November 8, 2016, demonetisation, income tax officials have said.

The attached properties include a mall at Perambur in Chennai, a resort in the name of Puducherry jewellery and a Coimbatore-based paper mill. Spectrum Mall of Ganga Foundation in Chennai, a resort in the name of Sri Lakshmi Jewellery in Puducherry and property in the name of Senthil Papers and Boards, Coimbatore, an attachment order said.

According to the sources, after demonetisation, Sasikala bought properties by using up Rs1500 crore in demonetised notes in the name of fictitious firms floated by her and benamis.

This was unearthed during a massive raid conducted in 37 locations in Tamil Nadu in November 2017, including the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha. Documents showed that assets were bought in the names of household staff, including car drivers, helps, and assistants.

An Initiating Officer of Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU) under the Income Tax Department, Chennai, has issued attachment orders under Section 24(3) of the Act, and sent them to the respective sub-registrars and registrar of companies. The provisional attachment is for 90 days.

A communication has also been sent to authorities of the special prison at Parappana Agrahara in Bengaluru, where Sasikala has been lodged since 2017 after being convicted in a ‘disproportionate assets’ case along with Jayalalitha.