The Foreign Exchange Regulation act (FERA) case against late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide V K Sasikala was adjourned to July 16 for next hearing.When the case came up for hearing before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) S Malarmathi, copies of the Madras High Court order allowing Ms Sasikala to appear throughvideo-conferencing from Bengaluru prison was submitted to the court.
Since she had sought that the questions to be asked toher should be in Tamil, the court adjourned the case toJuly 16 to prepare the tamil translation of the questions.During the last hearing on May 13, she was asked to appear before the ACMM today from Parapanna Agrahara jail in Bengaluru where has been lodged after her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.But she did not appear before the court today.
However, Sasikala’s relative V Bhaskaran, who was also cited as the accused in the case, appeared before the Court.It may be recalled that on a petition filed by her, the Madras High Court had on May nine permitted her to be questioned through video-conferencing, while setting aside the April 29 order of ACMM directing the Superintendent of the Central Prison in Bengaluru to produce Sasikala before the court on May 13 for questioning in FERA case.
Setting aside the order, Mr Justice N Anand Venkatesh accepted a plea made by G Hema, Special Public Prosecutor for Enforcement Directorate, that the answers recorded by the Magistrate might be sent to the prison for obtaining her signatures.
Sasikala’s counsel argued that she was facing four economic offence cases registered by the ED between 1996 and 2001. One of those cases booked in 1998 was related to purchase of equipments from a foreign supplier for the now-defunct JJ TV, allegedly without RBI’s approval.
The ED had alleged that as chairperson-cum-director of JJTV Private Limited between 1991 and 1996, Sasikala had authorised the company’s Managing Director Bhaskaran to negotiate and enter into a contract with any foreign supplier of a transponder facility for launching Tamil satellite channel JJ TV.
In pursuit of this, payments were made to firms in United States and Singapore dollars for hiring transponders and uplinking facilities for the JJ TV without the permission of the RBI.