In a setback to AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in the middle of her election campaign, a Chennai court has directed her and her friend Sasikala to appear before it on April 10 to answer charges that they had wilfully failed to file income tax returns in the early 1990s.

In a coincidence, in Bangalore, where Ms. Jayalalithaa is being tried in a disproportionate assets case, a Special Court asked her and three other accused to appear on April 5, but later dispensed with her personal appearance on security grounds. Rejecting the Chief Minister’s plea to exempt her from appearance in the I-T case, which dates back to the 1990s, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Chennai, R. Dakshinamurthy, said: “No more petitions for condoning her absence and for adjourning the case will be entertained.” His order came after K. Ramasamy, Senior Special Public Prosecutor for I-T cases, opposed the pleas of Ms. Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala.

While Ms. Jayalalithaa sought exemption citing the poll campaign, Ms. Sasikala wanted relief on health grounds.

In Bangalore, the judge initially directed all the accused to appear on April 5 but later modified his order for Ms. Jayalalithaa alone when the Registry expressed difficulty in making security arrangements at short notice.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National