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SC rebukes Jayalalithaa and her associate for stalling proceedings

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) The Supreme Court today rebuked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her associate Sasikala for unnecessarily and deliberately delaying the court proceedings in a case of income tax evasion.

A bench comprising Mr Justice B N Aggarwal and Mr Justice A K Mathur took umbrage when counsel for Ms Jayalalithaa sought six weeks time to file counter affidavit.

The court observed, ''you are making a mockery of judicial process, how long you can drag the proceedings. You must set an example to others by presenting yourself in the court. What counter affidavit can you file in this matter? we want to pass an order today itself directing your client to appear in the trial court.'' The court, however, adjourned the matter till March 3, to enable Ms Jayalalithaa to file a counter affidavit and the court would pass an appropriate order on the same day.

The Income Tax department's 'Economic Offences Wing' had launched criminal proceedings against Ms Jayalalithaa, Ms Sasikala and M/s Sasi Enterprises in the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Chennai, for not filing the income tax return for the year 1993-94 despite having taxable income.

Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala were prolonging the proceedings by avoiding appearance in the court for recording their statements under section 313 CrPC.

The IT department had approached the Madras High Court seeking direction to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and her associate to appear before the trial court. The High Court, however, dismissed the petition saying that they cannot pass such order.

The IT department had then approached the Supreme Court by way of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the High Court order and notices were issued in July last year.

UNI AKS/XC HS HS1907

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