Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa must face trial for tax evasion, rules SC

In a major setback for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a trial court to prosecute her for not filing Income Tax returns between 1991 and 1994 in her capacity as a partner of Shashi Enterprises, which she owned with her former aide Sasikala.

The apex court bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan directed a trial court to complete the trial within four months.

Jayalalithaa along with Sasikala had set up Sashi Enterprises wherein neither the enterprise nor its partners filed their income tax returns for year 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94.

The Tamil Nadu CM had contended that since there was no income from the enterprise, there was no tax evasion and not filing the income tax return was not an offence.

However, the economic offences court in Chennai rejected their contention, holding that non-filing of income tax returns was an offence and they will face trial.

On appeal, the Madras High Court accepted the findings of the economic offences court and both Jayalalithaa and Sasikala will face trial. The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to interfere with the high court order.