Chennai: The principal special court for CBI cases, Chennai issued non-bailable arrest warrant on Thursday against M. Natarajan, husband of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, and three others in connection with illegal import of a luxury car from the UK Kingdom over two decades ago.
The VIII Additional Judge A. Thiruneelaprasad issued the NBW based on Madras High Court order dated November 17, which upheld the CBI court order sentencing them to two years in prison in connection with the illegal import of the car. The special public prosecutor for CBI approached the court seeking issuance of NBW. On November 17, the Madras high court had confirmed sentencing of Natarajan, his nephew V. Bhaskaran Yogesh Balakrishnan, a resident of London and Sujaritha Sundararajan, Manager of Indian Bank, Abhiramapuram Branch, Chennai.
Natarajan, Bhaskaran likely to approach CBI court
According to the prosecution, a Toyota Lexus car was imported in 1994 by Natarajan declaring it as “used vehicle of 1993 model” evading tax to the tune of Rs1.06 crore. The CBI and enforcement directorate registered separate cases against Natarajan, V Bhaskaran, Yogesh Bala Krishnan and Sujaritha Sundararajan - who substituted the original sale invoice with a photocopy of an invoice fabricated by changing the vehicle's manufacturing date to July 1993.
After several rounds of litigation, the trial court sentenced Natarajan and others to undergo RI for two years and imposed a fine of Rs 40,000 on Yogesh Balakrishnan and Rs 20,000 each on Natarajan, Bhaskaran and Sundararajan in 2010.
When the appeal of the accused came up for hearing, Justice G Jayachandran said “there was ample evidence placed before the court by the prosecution to show that these accused have involved in cheating the government by producing forged documents”.
“It is unfortunate that senior customs officers who were members of the conspiracy were not prosecuted, since the prosecuting agency was refused sanction by competent authority. This cannot be the reason to allow the other conspirators to go scot-free. This court opines that this is high time to revisit law mandating sanction under Prevention of Corruption Act, and subject it to judicial scrutiny”, the judge said.
Dismissing the appeal, the judge had directed the trial court to secure the accused and remand to judicial custody to undergo remaining period of sentence. Meanwhile, Natarajan and Baskaran filed an appeal before the Supreme Court two days ago challenging the High court order. The apex court had granted exemption to them from surrendering before the trial court pending the appeal before it. Since the trial court was not aware of this, Natarajan and others are likely to approach the CBI court, Chennai to recall the NBW.