From Rs 8.5L in ’87, Jaya assets grew to Rs 63.51 cr in ’96

Jayalalithaa possessed assets worth Rs 8.5 lakh in 1987 but in next nine years, it rose to Rs 63.51 crore while she could have legitimately earned only 9.91 crore.

This surge in wealth during 1991-96, which is proved as disproportionate to known sources of income, prompted the case against Jayalalithaa, the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, and her close aide Sasikala.

Jayalalithaa’s assets had swelled to Rs 113.73 crore in April 2016, according to an affidavit she filed while filing nominations for the Assembly elections.

She became the owner of four pieces of land and building, including the Poes Garden in Chennai, through the execution of the Will of her mother N R Sandhya, an actress who died in 1971. She was also in possession of three cars, company shares and a property.

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The assets of Jayalalithaa in 1987 were worth only Rs 7.5 lakh besides a bank balance of Rs one lakh and certain items of jewellery.

When she assumed office of Chief Ministership in 1991, both Jayalalithaa and Sasikala had assets worth Rs 2.01 crore. The assets in 1991 included properties acquired in the name of Jaya Publications, Sasi Enterprises and Namadhu MGR, which had been floated by the duo with themselves as partners, according to Supreme Court judgement.

But since July 1, 1991 when Jayalalithaa assumed power, the court noted that there was a “sudden spurt” in the acquisition of assets. During this period, she and her aide floated several firms in the names of Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi.

Thirty-two such firms were cited in the order but between July 1, 1991 and April 4, 1994, there were no business activities at all in many of these companies. Activities were more in the nature of acquiring assets like lands, machinery and building, which were not production oriented.

Jayalalithaa amassed Rs 66.65 crore during this period even as trial court later had said prosecution could only prove assets worth Rs 63.51 crore.

Of this, the value of the disproportionate assets was that of Rs 53.60 crore as the her income from known sources like rental income, interest derived from deposits, agricultural income, loans and salary she received as Chief Minister worked out to be Rs 9.91 crore in 1996.

Interestingly, the court had then said the assets belonged to Jayalalithaa as the other accused had no sufficient means to acquire such assets in their names and it established that the assets were actually acquired by the former.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 15, 2017)

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