Chennai: A CBI court today sentenced the
husband of Sasikala, a close associate of AIADMK chief
Jayalalithaa, and three others to two years rigorous
imprisonment for "cheating" the exchequer of over Rs one crore
in the import of a foreign car by fabricating documents.
Special Judge T Ravindran also imposed a fine of Rs
2,000 each on Sasikala`s husband M Natarajan, director of
Tamilarasi Publications and her nephew V Bhaskaran, a
signatory to operate the current account of the publications.
The judge also fined one Yogesh Balakrishnan, residing
in London, a sum of Rs 40,000 and a city branch manager of
Indian Bank Rs 20,000.
They have been charged under IPC for criminal
conspiracy, cheating and forgery and under the Prevention of
Corruption Act awarded lesser sentences. All the sentences
would run concurrently.
According to CBI, Natarajan and Bhaskaran
"fraudulently and dishonestly fabricated documents for the
purpose of clearing a Lexus car, imported by Balakrishnan, to
take advantage of the Residence provision by misdeclaring that
the vehicle had been manufactured in 1993 instead of 1994".
In the process, the customs department suffered a loss
of over Rs 1.06 crore.
The CBI submitted that the original sale invoice
pertaining to the purchase of the car was replaced and
substituted with a photo copy of a fabricated invoice.
In pursuance of the conspiracy, the branch manager had
misused her official position by illegal means, it was
The manager had issued a Foreign Inward Remittance
Certificate (FIRC) to the effect that the imported car would
be released by customs on the basis of the certificate,
knowing full well that the current account of Tamilarasi
Publications had not received any foreign remittance, a
pre-condition for paying the customs duty under the FIRC.
Yogesh Balakrishnan`s father, also named as an
accused, is still absconding.
The car had arrived by ship at Chennai port on
September 6, 1994.