Chennai: Madras High Court on Wednesday exempted from personal appearance Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her aide Sasikala before the trial court for questioning and for framing charges in the Income Tax returns case.
On September 18, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate M R Dakshinamurthy had directed them to appear 'without fail' on October 1.
Jayalalithaa and Sasikala had sought to quash a portion of a lower court's order, directing them to appear before it.
Justice K B K Vasuki, who disposed of their petitions, today directed the trial court to continue with the proceedings other than that related to the personal appearance and questioning.
The court also directed the Central Board of Direct Taxes to dispose of the compounding applications submitted by Jayalalithaa and Sasikala within a period of six weeks.
Defence counsel for Jayalalithaa had earlier submitted before Justice Vasuki that the main object of the amended guidelines of CBDT in allowing the assessees to file compounding application before the department is not to put them in hardship and to avoid treating them as criminal.
They had also submitted that the compounding application to the IT department on June 25 2014 has an outer time limit up to December 24, a time of 180 days from the date of application to decide the same.
The Income Tax department had launched criminal proceedings against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala for allegedly not filing returns in their individual capacity for the assessment year 1993-94.
Complaints were also filed by the IT department against Sasi Enterprises represented by its partners, Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, for allegedly failing to file returns for the assessment years 1991-92 and 1992-93.
Discharge petitions filed by the accused were later dismissed by the Madras High Court. Jayalalithaa and Sasikala preferred had moved the Supreme Court.
Dismissing their appeals on January 30, the apex court had directed the lower court to complete the trial in four months.