ED slaps Rs 18 cr penalty on Jaya's friend, nephew

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Chennai, Mar 23: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has imposed a penalty of Rs 18 crore on former chief minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa's close friend Sasikala and her nephew V Bhaskaran in connection with import of equipment for JJ TV without obtaining prior permission from the Centre in 1995.

The Directorate passed the orders while allowing a petition by Ms Sasikala and Mr Bhaskaran seeking trial under FEMA instead of defunct FERA.

Ms Sasikala and her nephew had moved the ED as per the directions of Madras High Court.

While directing the cases be tried under FEMA, the ED Adjudicating Officer imposed a penalty of eight crore on the company (JJ TV).

In addition, a penalty of Rs six crore and Rs four crore respectively were imposed on Company Directors Ms Sasikala and Mr Bhaskaran.

It may be noted that there could not be an appeal against the Directorate's adjudication.

The ED Chennai had registered few cases against J J TV Pvt Ltd and its directors in 1996-97 for contravention of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1973 (FERA).

In one of the cases, it was alleged that the company and its directors had acquired foreign exchage from abroad without RBI permission in violation of FERA to extent of 6.80 lakh US dollar which was used for making payment to two companies abroad in 1995-96 -- Rimsat Ltd, US and Subie Bay Satellite Systems, Philippines.

These payments were made for transponder charges and uplinking charges for telecasting programmes under the Logo ''JJ TV.'' The company and its directors had also entered into agreement with the two overseas companies for paying annual charges of 13.6 lakh US dollar without RBI permission in contravention of FERA.

The ED's case was based on investigation in India and abroad. In the final order, the adjudicating officer had relied on detailed evidence relating to such unauthorised acquisition, payment and acknowledgement of debt abroad, including evidence from abroad from the US in reply to a Letter of Rogatory.

UNI

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