Operation Clean Money: IT Dept Attaches Sasikala’s Rs 1500 Crore Benami Assets Purchased Using Demonetised Notes V K Sasikala (ARUN SANKAR/AFP/GettyImages)

The Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU) under the Income Tax Department, Chennai, has provisionally attached properties worth about Rs 1,600 crore belonging to V.K. Sasikala, close-aide of late Tamilnadu CM J Jayalalithaa and AIADMK’s former general secretary, under the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, The Hindu reported.

Sasikala is currently serving a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets (DA) case. She is lodged at Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru.

The Hindu report quoted sources in the IT department as saying that Sasikala allegedly procured the properties by using up Rs 1500 crore in demonetised notes under fictitious names.

The prime properties in Tamil Nadu have been purchased in the names of household staff like car drivers, servants, assistants, etc. and friends or business associates of the main suspects

According to The Hindu report, the attached properties include a mall at Perambur in Chennai, a resort in the name of a Puducherry jewellery and a Coimbatore-based paper mill. Spectrum Mall of Ganga Foundation in Chennai, a resort in the name of Sri Lakshmi Jewellery in Puducherry and property in the name of Senthil Papers and Boards, Coimbatore.

As part of ‘Operation Clean Money’in Nov 2017, over 1,800 officials of the Income Tax department carried out simultaneous searches at various properties of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala and her family members across Chennai, Coimbatore and Puducherry.

Investigators had recovered documents pertaining to the purchase of assets worth several hundreds of crores of rupees pointing to several benami transactions. Several incriminating documents were also seized from about 150 other locations during the raids.

The report added that the Initiating Officer of Benami Prohibition Unit (BPU) under the Income Tax Department, Chennai, has issued the attachment orders under Section 24(3) of the Act. The order will be sent to respective Sub-Registrars and Registrar of Companies. The provisional attachment is for 90 days.

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