The owner of Spectrum Mall in Perambur moved the Madras High Court challenging the proceedings initiated against him under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act after the Income Tax department charged him of receiving Rs 18 crore from ousted AIADMK leader VK Sasikala. The department had accused her of purchasing malls and other business establishments using demonetised currency.
After searching Sasikala’s premises, IT officials conducted a search at his house in Perambur in November 2017, said petitioner VSJ Dinakaran, who claimed to be a moneylender. He was questioned about selling the mall to Sasikala, but as he had no idea about any such transaction, he denied it outright.
However, the assessing officers construed that he had received Rs 18 crore and issued him a show-cause notice seeking reply as to why Spectrum Mall should not be held as a benami property, Dinakaran said.
The proceedings were prima facie void as it was based on a mere assumption that the money was paid based on a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which is not available with the Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Benami Prohibition) he argued, adding that the other documents relied on by the officials were merely photocopies. Also, he was neither provided any document nor given an opportunity of personal hearing before passing the order, he added.
According to him, Spectrum Mall was a joint venture between Ganga Foundations Private Ltd and two landowners, DV Balaji and I Shanmugadurai.
In 2011 and 2012, he had purchased an undivided share of 4,554 sq ft and 6,581 sq ft respectively and also a shop in the mall. Owing to business contingencies, he had mortgaged these properties with the Bank of India in 2014 and has been servicing interest till date.