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The Rediff Special/ George Iype

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary J Jayalalitha has many firsts to her credit. The actress-turned politician was the first woman chief minister of Tamil Nadu. But she is also the first chief minister to be declared guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

E-Mail this feature to a friend In the past few years, the Tamil Nadu government has set up three special courts to exclusively deal with the cases against the 52-year-old AIADMK leader. As of now, there are as many as 12 major corruption cases against Jayalalitha alone and 33 cases against her associates, including her confidante Sasikala, former AIADMK ministers and senior Tamil Nadu bureaucrats. Fighting these cases and the judgements on them has variously affected Jayalalitha's political career.

Here is a ready reckoner to cases that Jayalalitha has fought and is fighting.

Colour TV Case

Jayalalitha is alleged to have received kickbacks of Rs 85 million in a 1995 deal for purchase of 45,302 colour TV sets for village community centres across Tamil Nadu. The case was tried in a special court. On May 30 this year, Jayalalitha, her close aide Sasikala Natarajan and Sasikala's relative S R Bhaskaran were acquitted.

The court however convicted seven others, including former local administration minister T M Selvaganapathy, and sentenced them to undergo five years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each. Besides Selvaganapathy, those convicted were former chief secretary N Haribhaskar, Indian Administrative Service officials H M Pandey and M Sathiyamoorthy, the minister's personal assistant K Janarthanam, TV agents S Duraisamy and S Muthukumaraswamy.

Tansi Land Case

Jayalalitha was accused of using her official position to acquire government land in 1992 for Jaya Publications, of which she was a partner. It caused a loss of Rs 35 million to the exchequer. On January 13 this year, the Madras high court discharged her in the case.

Gift Case

This is the only major case against Jayalalitha that the apex Central Bureau of Investigation is probing. According to the CBI, she received a donation of Rs 30 million from abroad and showed the same in her income tax returns during 1992-93. Since it was a gift in foreign exchange, no tax was levied. But when Tamil Manila Congress leader P Chidambaram was finance minister in the H D Deve Gowda government, he asked the then CBI chief Joginder Singh to identify the source of the donation. Singh sent a letter rogatory to the Channel Islands in the United Kingdom. The CBI investigation on the case is still on.

Pleasant Stay Hotel Case

Jayalalitha and her erstwhile ministerial colleagues are accused of having allowed a seven-storeyed luxury hotel to come up in the hill station of Kodaikanal in brazen violation of building laws applicable to such areas, which permit only two floors. On February 2, 2000, Special Judge V Radhakrishnan convicted and sentenced Jayalalitha and her four colleagues to one year's rigorous imprisonment for favouring the owner of the hotel in return for monetary considerations when she was ruling Tamil Nadu from 1991-96.

Her conviction sparked off violent protests all across the state, leaving three college girls dead. The three girls were burnt to death when an angry group of AIADMK workers set ablaze a Coimbatore Agriculture University bus near Dharmapuri. Jayalalitha has appealed against the judgement in the Supreme Court.

Coal Import Case

Jayalalitha is alleged to have caused a loss of Rs 65 million to the state exchequer in a 1993 deal for import of 2 million tonnes of coal for the state electricity board. The prosecution case is that during 1992-93, Jayalalitha and nine others had entered into a criminal conspiracy to import substandard coal for Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. A special court on July 3 framed charges against the former chief minister and others. The court also posted the case for August 10, for examination of prosecution witnesses. Jayalalitha had earlier appealed before the Supreme Court against the case. But a division bench of the apex court comprising Justices K T Thomas and R C Lahoti directed Jayalalitha to face trial in the case on May 9.

Besides Jayalalitha, the other important accused in the case are former AIADMK minister S Kannappan, the then chief secretary T V Venkatraman, the then TNEB chairman N Haribhaskar and IAS officials Narayanan and Ramachandaran.

Grapes case

The Income Tax department is scrutinising Jayalalitha's tax returns on the sale of grapes. According to the AIADMK chief's income-tax returns, between 1987 and 1993 she earned a tax-free Rs 6 million from the sale of grapes grown on a 30-acre farm she owns in the Jeedimetla area of Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh. But IT officials claim there was no cultivation on the farm during those years. The farm came into Jayalalitha's possession in 1991.

SAF games advertising case

Jayalalitha waived Rs 20 million in rights' fees due to the government from Meena Advertising Agency, agents for the 1995 South Asian Federation Games. The Tamil Nadu government investigation into the case is still on.

Disproportionate wealth

During her tenure as chief minister, Jayalalitha along with her associates acquired more than 100 properties, besides jewellery and other assets worth Rs 660 million. Different agencies of the Tamil Nadu government are yet to complete investigations into the case.

Granite quarry case

Jayalalitha is alleged to have received Rs 390 million by granting quarry licences to private parties when she was chief minister. The investigations into the case are still on.

TIDCO disinvestment case

She is accused of abusing her official position as chief minister to grant privileges to two local industrialists, leading to a loss of Rs 280 million to the state. The case is being investigated.

Failure to file returns

Jayalalitha did not file income tax returns for 1993-94 thereby hiding an income of Rs 10 million. She has already been chargesheeted in the case, which is now pending before the economic offences court.

Donation case

Jayalalitha allegedly received US $ 300,000 from Bankers' Trust Company in the United States under Voluntary Deposit (Immunities and Exceptions) Act, 1991, not applicable to public servants.

Cases against Sasikala Natarajan

FERA violation

Foreign Exchange Regulation Act violation charges have been slapped against Sasikala Natarajan for payment of US $ 680,000 to two foreign firms on account of JJ TV, a company of which Jayalalitha was the chairperson. Sasikala was arrested and charged in 1996 by the Enforcement Directorate.


Sasikala allegedly paid US $ 615,160 on behalf of JJ TV, to a Russian satellite firm and to Singapore Telecom with the permission from the government and clearance from the Reserve Bank of India.

Money laundering

Sasikala allegedly stashed US $ 342,000 in a dummy foreign account of a Malaysian citizen with an Indian branch of the State Bank of India. The Enforcement Directorate probe still on.

Foreign deposits

Sasikala's two nephews - V Bhaskaran and T T V Dinakaran, have been charged with depositing dollars equivalent to Rs 350 million with Barclays Bank in the account of a company in Virgin Islands. The CBI is investigating the case.

The Rediff Specials

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