July 05 2020
High Court rules out criminal action against Chief Secretary
19 March 2019

‘Seizure of documents at Veda Nilayam by I-T dept. vindicates her stand’

The Madras High Court on Monday rejected a plea to initiate criminal action against Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan on the charge of perjury.

A litigant had accused her of having filed a false affidavit in the court on July 17, 2017 when she claimed that a letter sent by the Income Tax department to her predecessor P. Rama Mohana Rao, regarding illegal sale of gutkha in the State, on July 9, 2016 was not available with her office.

Justices K.K. Sasidharan and P.D. Audikesavalu dismissed the case filed by Madurai-based trade union leader K. Kathiresan after pointing out that the discovery of the letter from Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, by none other than Income Tax officials during a raid conducted on November 17, 2017 would fortify the Chief Secretary’s claim that it was not available with her office.

“The documents seized by the Director of Income Tax (Investigation) during the search at Poes Gaden supports the stand taken by the Chief Secretary. The documents were seized only from the residence of the then (sic) Chief Minister at Vedha Nilayam. Therefore, it is clear that the documents referred to in the affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary were not available with her office. It was very much available at Veda Nilayam.

‘Affidavit is correct’

“The Chief Secretary was, therefore, correct in her affidavit that no such communication was received from the Income Tax department as alleged... The availability of the documents in the office of the Chief Secretary would arise only in case those documents were still there. The search conducted by the Income Tax Department clearly revealed that the documents were not available with the office of the Chief Secretary,” the Bench said.

The judges came down heavily on the petitioner for having filed a series of public interest litigation petitions targetted at the continuance of T.K. Rajendran as Director General of Police by accusing him of having played a role in permitting illegal manufacture and sale of gutkha. They pointed out that Mr. Kathiresan had filed only three “public interest litigation” petitions in his lifetime and all three were aimed only at Mr. Rajendran.

“The successive petitions filed by the petitioner targeting a particular officer of the police department clearly shows that he is dancing to the tunes of others. The petitioner has been lending his shoulder to others to fire the gun. He has given a brand name, ‘public interest litigation’ to make it appear as if everything was in larger public interest. We are therefore of the view that the petition deserves to be dismissed,” the Division Bench said.



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