SC to Sasikala’s nephew Bhaskaran: You should have been prosecuted for dowry

The apex court has asked Bhaskaran and Sasikala’s husband Natarajan to surrender in the Lexus car tax evasion case.
The Supreme Court has ordered ousted AIADMK leader Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan and nephew V Bhaskaran to surrender before a lower court in the Lexus car case. The apex court also observed that Natarajan and Bhaskaran can avail bail the same day by paying a surety of Rs 25 lakh.
This comes after the Madras High Court upheld a two-year sentence against them for importing a brand-new Toyota Lexus in 1994 and declaring it as a used car. Their false declaration had thereby caused a loss of Rs 1.06 crore to the exchequer.
Natarajan and Bhaskaran had appealed against the High Court’s conviction in the apex court.
During the hearing on Friday, when Bhaskaran’s counsel said that he had received the car as a gift for his wedding, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed, “Then, you should have been prosecuted for dowry harassment.”
The case dates back to September 6, 1994 when Natarajan imported a Toyota Lexus car from the UK. According to The Times of India, the car was shown as a used vehicle of 1993 model by substituting the original sale invoice with a photocopy of a fabricated invoice. The investigation by Customs Department showed that it was a new 1994 model car and it had led to the loss of Rs 1.06 crore to the exchequer.
Cases were filed in the Metropolitan Magistrate court in Egmore and in the Special CBI Court. The Enforcement Directorate had also filed a case under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) 1973, and Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Later the CBI filed a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998 and sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The five accused in the case are Natarajan, Bhaskaran, Balakrishnan who is a London-based businessman, his son Yogesh and Indian Bank’s Abhiramapuram manager Sujaritha Sundarajan. Balakrishnan had absconded in 2010 and so the cases were taken ahead against the other four people.
In 2010, a special CBI court in Egmore awarded all four of them two years imprisonment for conspiracy, forgery, cheating and tax evasion. Seven years later, the Madras High Court upheld the sentence in November, 2017.
Following the High Court order, Natarajan was admitted at a private hospital in Chennai after complaining of uneasiness. He had in October undergone a liver and kidney transplant.
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