I-T attaches Jayalalithaa’s properties held by Sasikala kin worth Rs 2000 crore

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The Income Tax Department (benami transactions prohibition unit) has attached former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad and Siruthavur property worth Rs 2000 crore on Wednesday. These assets were purchased in the name of two benamis- VK Sasikala's sister-in-law Ilavarasi and VN Sudhakaran- who are currently serving their four-year prison term in the disproportionate assets case.

The properties attached under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 includes 44.3 acres at Siruthavur village and other properties in Kodanad. The copies of the IT notices were also sent to Deepa and Deepak Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s legal heir. However, it is to be noted here that a message sent from the I-T department to the media said that ‘assets belonging to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala in Kodanad and Siruthavur areas have been attached.’ The notices clearly show that the properties, however, belonged to the late Chief Minister and the others were benamis.

The Benami Prohibition Unit of the Income Tax attached the properties after provisionally attaching properties in Chennai worth Rs 300 crore. In August, the I-T Department attached a property Sasikala owns near Veda Nilayam, residence of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, which was reportedly bought to be made as the permanent residence of Sasikala following her release from the prison in Karnataka.

The properties near Veda Nilayam were allegedly purchased by Sasikala under the benami firm Sri Harichandran Estates. The I-T Department in September attached 65 properties belonging to Sasikala and her family acquired during 2003-2005.

The properties were attached based on massive raids conducted in 2017. The I-T department conducted raids in 187 properties of Sasikala and her relatives and reportedly found Rs 1430 crore of tax evasion.

In 2019, the department also attached properties bought by her using currency notes demonetized by the Union government in 2016. All the attachments are made under section 24(3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act 1988.

Meanwhile, Sasikala is likely to be released from jail in January next year after serving four years for the disproportionate assets case.