MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday stayed auctioning of immovable property belonging to the Sri Premananda Trust at Melapatchakudi village in Pudukottai district on condition that it should deposit Rs.64 lakh in two instalments.
Passing interim orders on a writ appeal, a Division Bench comprising Justice Dharma Rao Elipe and Justice P.P.S. Janarthana Raja said Rs. 32 lakh should be deposited before February 28, and the rest before March 30.
Founder of the Trust Premananda alias S. Premkumar is at serving a double life sentence in the Cuddalore central prison in rape and murder cases that rocked the State in 1994. He and his aides raped several girls in an ashram run by them. The trial court verdict was confirmed by the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.
In her writ appeal, managing trustee K. Sivathy claimed it was not proper on the part of the Income Tax department to auction Trust properties for recovering Premananda's tax dues. More than 2,000 poor students, supported by the Trust, would be left in the lurch if the properties were sold overnight.
The IT department on March 29, 2000 directed Premananda to pay Rs.64 lakh towards tax dues for the assessment years between 1985-86 and 1995-96.
The money was not paid and the figure rose to more than Rs.10 crore with interest.