Chennai: The Madras High Court today
suspended the two-year jail term awarded to M Natarajan,
husband of Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief
minister Jayalalithaa, who was found guilty of cheating the
exchequer of over Rs one crore in importing a car by
Suspending the sentence on an appeal by Natarajan
against a special CBI court`s July 26 order convicting him,
Justice T Sudanthiram ordered notice to the CBI.
The judge also suspended a similar sentence handed
down to the manager of a city branch of a nationalised bank
who was also convicted in the case.
Principal Special Judge for CBI cases T Ravindran, who
had also slapped Natarajan, Director of Tamilarasi
Publications with a fine of Rs 20,000, had suspended the jail
terms to enable them appeal against their convictions.
Two others -- V Bhaskaran, a nephew of Sasikala and
one Yogesh Balakrishnan, residing in London were also
sentenced to two years RI each and fined Rs 20,000 and Rs
40,000 respectively. The woman bank manager was fined Rs
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.
They had thus caused a loss of over Rs 1.06 crore to
the customs department, it said.
Bhaskaran was a signatory to operate the current
account of the publications.
In pursuance of the conspiracy, the branch manager had
misused her official position by illegal means and issued a
Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate (FIRC) to the effect
that the car would be released by customs on the basis of the
certificate, knowing full well that the current account of the
Publications had not received any foreign remittance, a
pre-condition for paying the customs duty under FIRC, it said.
The car had arrived by ship at Chennai port on
September 6, 1994.