In a setback to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for her prosecution for not filing income tax returns in 1993-94, and asked a lower court to wrap up the trial in four months. The apex court also gave a green signal for prosecution of her close aide S Sasikala for not filing IT return for the same year and against company Sasi Enterprises, a partnership firm of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala for evading tax in the assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93.
They are being prosecuted under Section 276CC of the Income Tax Act, which provides for rigorous imprisonment for a term ranging from 6 months to 7 years in cases where the amount of tax evasion detected exceeds R1 lakh.
A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri said that contentions of the AIADMK chief and others that there has not been any wilful failure to file their return cannot be accepted. “...the contention of the learned senior counsel for the appellant that there has not been any wilful failure to file their return cannot be accepted and on facts, offence under Section 276CC of the Act has been made out in all these appeals and the rejection of the application for the discharge calls for no interference by this Court,” the bench said.