: The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Court -I, Egmore on Thursday said that it would fix a date on March 20 for the appearance of Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa and her close associate Sasikala who are accused in an income tax case.

Originally, the Income Tax Department instituted criminal proceedings by filing complaints before the ACMM Court in 1996 and 1997 against Sasi Enterprises and its partners, Ms. Jayalalithaa, and Ms. Sasikala. The IT department alleged that they were wilfully and deliberately failed to file returns for the assessment years 1991-92, 1992-93. In 2006, their discharge petitions were dismissed by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court and the Madras High Court.

In January, the Supreme Court had directed the lower court to complete the trial in four months after dismissing a batch of appeals filed against a Madras High Court judgment that threw out their discharge petitions filed by two.

When the matter came up for hearing before the ACMM R.Dakshinamoorthy on Thursday, Ms.Jayalaithaa and Ms. Sasikala were represented through counsel.

K. Ramasamy, Senior Special Public Prosecutor for Income Tax cases, drew the court’s attention to the apex court’s direction to complete the trial within four months. Hence, he said the matter could be taken up for day- to-day trial.

Counsel for Ms. Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala prayed the court for further time. After hearing both sides, the ACMM Mr. Dakshinamoorthy said in his brief order, “This court also wants time for perusing the entire records. Hence, the case is adjourned to March 20 for fixing a date for further proceedings and appearance of accused.”