The Income Tax department on Wednesday attached the properties belonging to V.K. Sasikala, close confidante of former chief minister Jayalalithaa, under the Benami transaction act, worth over Rs 2,000 crore. The palatial white mansion at Kodanad tea estate in the scenic Nilgiris and the infamous Sirthavur bungalow on the outskirts of Chennai, have also been attached by the Income Tax department. These two bungalows, till 2016, were the favourite retreats of Jayalalithaa.
The assets belonging to Sasikala, her sister-in-law Illavarasi and her nephew and Jayalalithaa’s disowned foster son V.N. Sudhakaran have been attached by the Benami Prohibition wing of the Income Tax Department. The Benami Prohibition Unit of the Income Tax Department in Chennai, recently, had started the process of attaching the properties of Sasikala, including the sprawling Kodanad and the Siruthavur bungalows and the upcoming bungalow of Sasikala opposite to Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence Veda Nilayam in Chennai.
The notice pasted on the walls of Siruthavur bungalow, dated October 6, has been signed by U.N. Dilip, deputy commissioner of Income Tax (Benami Prohibition). The notice says that the provisional attachment of the of the properties are being done under Section 24 (3) of the Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.
On a day when the ruling AIADMK resolved the power tussle between its warring EPS and OPS factions, notices were pasted outside the Siruthavur bungalow. The notice pasted on the outer wall of the Siruthavur bungalow said that the copies of the notice have been served to Sasikala, Illavarasi, Sudhakaran, who are serving four years imprisonment in the Prapana Aghrahara prison following their conviction in the Disproportionate Assets case in February 2017. Jayalalithaa, being the A1, was abetted as she had died months before the judgment in the wealth case. Notice have also been served to Jayalalithaa’s nephew J. Deepak and niece J. Deepa. The two were, recently, declared as the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa.
It may be recalled that the Income Tax department raided in the properties of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala. The IT department had also attached assets worth Rs 1,500 crore allegedly purchased Sasikala after demonetisation in November 2016. Incidentally, the attaching of the properties comes at a time when there has been speculations about Sasikala’s early release and her active role in Tamil Nadu politics.