The Hindu has made available a copy of the judgement of John Michael Cunha J. in the case of State vs. Selvi. J. Jayalalitha (pdf). The judgement exposes the intricate arrangements that were made to launder the huge amount of cash credits that were received by J. Jayalalitha (former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) from alleged corrupt means. The judgement also raises disturbing questions as to the role of the auditors of the front companies in seeking to camouflage the true nature of the transactions. A few passages from the judgement are noteworthy.
(i) As in s. 68 of the Income-tax Act, the onus is on the accused to explain the nature and source of the investment & cash credits because he has special knowledge about how a particular asset was acquired or an investment therein was made. Such proof includes proof of the identity of the person who according to the accused provided the source, capacity of such person to advance or spend the money, and lastly, the genuineness of the transaction. On facts, the accused have failed to offer any satisfactory explanation as to the enormous unexplained credits entered into their bank accounts. Whatever explanation offered by the accused by way of confirmatory letters are proved to be false and bogus. The identity of the persons who provided the source is not proved. The transactions which resulted in the cash credit is also not established (Kale Khan Mohammed Hanif (1963) 50 ITR 1 (SC) followed);
(ii) The auditors examined by the accused are found to be propped up to support the false defence set up by the accused. It is proved in evidence that the auditors examined by the accused did not handle their accounts during the check period and they were not conversant with the true facts. It is also proved in evidence that, the returns and the balance sheet and the profit and loss account were maneuvred solely with a view to offer an explanation to the huge unexplained credits entered in their respective bank accounts;
(iii) Mere declaration of property in the Income Tax returns does not amount to showing the same was acquired from the known source of income. The prosecution could show that, there was no real source of income with the assessees and the public servant is the real source. In the instant case, the prosecution has succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt that the only source for the acquisition of the large assets is A-1 (J. Jayalalitha) herself.