Court okays Sasikala's video conferencing plea in FERA violations case

A court in Chennai on Thursday allowed jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary V K Sasikala to appear before it through video conferencing from the Bengaluru prison in connection with cases of alleged Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violations.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Economic Offence), A Zakir Hussain, allowed Sasikala's plea and directed her to furnish a declaration in two weeks that she would not challenge video conferencing in future on grounds of its quality or that she did not understand the proceedings.

Also, she was directed to inform the court about the language to be used during the video conferencing for framing charges against her.

The judge directed her to inform Karnataka prison authorities about it and posted the matter to May 18.

The judge framed charges against her relative Bhaskaran and posted the matter to May 10.

Prosecution was launched against Sasikala, Bhaskaran and J J TV (now defunct) by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 1995 and 1996 on charges of violating FERA.

The case relates to alleged violations in transactions including remittances for a transponder and uplinking charges for the erstwhile J J TV channel.

It was alleged by prosecution that the payments were illegally routed to US-based Rimsat through firms having network in the Philippines and Singapore.

On February 15, Sasikala was sent to jail after she surrendered before a trial court at Bengaluru, a day after the Supreme Court restored her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

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