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April 17, 2001

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Jaya summoned to face fresh case

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha was on Tuesday summoned by the principal sessions court in Madras to appear on June 12 to receive copies of the chargesheet filed against her for allegedly investing Rs 439.8 million in two star hotels in London.

Judge S Ashok Kumar also issued summons to the co-accused in the chargesheet, T T V Dinakaran, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP and nephew of Jayalalitha's close aide Sasikala Natarajan.

The case had been registered by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption in September 2000 on the ground that the investment in the hotel constituted wealth disproportionate to Jayalalitha's known sources of income.

Jayalalitha has been charged under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 13(2) read with section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Dinakaran has been indicted under sections 120-B, 109 (abetment of crime) and section 13(2) of the IPC read with 13(1)(e) of the PCA.

The DVAC contended that the two hotels -- Hobbs Craft Holt Hotel, purchased in the name of M/s Godfrey Resources Corporation, floated by Dinakaran, and Slaley Hall Hotel, acquired in the name of M/s Adelphi Enterprises, also floated by him, were bought at a total cost of Rs 39.56 crore [Rs 395.6 million] in 1994.

The investment came to light during a probe by the DVAC into the Rs 66.65 crore [Rs 666.5 million] disproportionate wealth case against Jayalalitha.

The DVAC alleged that during her tenure as chief minister of Tamil Nadu from 1991 to 1996, Jayalalitha had entered into a criminal conspiracy with Dinakaran and channelled funds to countries like Dubai, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong in violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

During this period Dinakaran acquired three companies -- Dipper Investments, Banyan Enterprises and Turnkey Industries -- all registered in the British Virgin Islands, and transferred funds to them through Barclays Bank, London.

A sum of 1.32 million was also allegedly arranged for and clandestinely transferred from a different source.

Dinakaran also transferred funds to the accounts of a solicitor, Naynesh Desai of Meer Care & Desai, with Natwest Bank, London.

An amount of over 13.27 million was also clandestinely transferred from a different source, and the total funds amounting to 8.15 million (Rs 39 crore) were used to purchase the two hotels, the DVAC alleged.

In 1998, the two hotels were sold for 20 million. DVAC contended that the amount of Rs 43.98 crore, besides Rs 4.41 crore incurred by Dinakaran for his foreign travel and towards payment of professional fees, was over and above the disproportionate wealth to the tune of Rs 66.65 allegedly acquired by Jayalalitha within India.

PTI

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