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Madras HC allows Sasikala to appear before court via video conference on 13 May, ex-AIADMK leader to be questioned in ED case

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday allowed former AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala to appear before a court in Egmore for questioning through video conference on 13 May.

Justice Anand Venkatesh, disposing of the petition from Sasikala lodged in Bengaluru jail, directed her to appear before the court through video conference in connection with a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

 Madras HC allows Sasikala to appear before court via video conference on 13 May, ex-AIADMK leader to be questioned in ED case

File image of VK Sasikala. Courtesy: Twitter/@AIADMKOfficial

The case registered in 1996 relates to the alleged payments made by Sasikala, a close aide of late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, and co-accused Bhaskaran in violation of FERA for the purchase of a transponder facility and uplinking charges for the now-defunct JJ TV channel.

When the matter came up, senior counsel Raja Rathnam, on behalf of Sasikala, submitted that she was already allowed to appear through video conference. But, the subsequent presiding officer found some defects in the procedure and directed the appearance of the petitioner in person in the present case, Rathnam said.

Referring to the earlier order of the high court in similar matters, the counsel said it had stated that there is no requirement to produce the petitioner before the court and questioning can be done through video conference.

Counsel for the Enforcement Directorate Hema submitted that the only difficulty is to get signature from the petitioner in the papers after questioning is completed. To this, Justice Venkatesh said the signatures can be obtained after sending the papers to the jail and it can be witnessed by the officer who will be accompanying the petitioner in the prison at the time of the video conference.

The ED had booked Sasikala in 1996 on the charge of violation of foreign exchange regulations and the case had since been dragging. A total of four connected cases are pending trial.

In January, the Madras High Court had allowed Sasikala to appear through video-conference for framing of charges, but stipulated that the trial should be completed in four months. Sasikala is serving her four-year imprisonment awarded in the disproportionate assets case.

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Updated Date: May 10, 2019 11:37:30 IST