The Additional Special Court for Trial of cases related to Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, on Wednesday sentenced Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader Sarath Kumar and his actor-wife Radhikaa Sarath Kumar to one year rigorous imprisonment, in each of seven cheque bounce cases filed separately against them, and also directed them pay ₹3.3 crore as compensation to the complainant. The sentence will run concurrently.
Mr. Sarath Kumar and Ms. Radhika have moved a special court seeking suspension of the sentence. The court kept the sentence in abeyance for 30 days following the appeal.
Mr. Sarath Kumar, Ms Radhikaa and Mr. Listin Stephen are partners of Magic Frames company which had borrowed ₹1.5 crore from Radiance Media Private Ltd, a film financing company, in 2014. They had issued two cheques to repay the loan. Apart from this Mr. Sarath Kumar had also borrowed ₹50 lakh as loan and had issued five cheques. However, since all the cheques issued to repay the loan were dishonoured, Radiance Media filed a petition before the fast track court, Saidapet.
Though the actors approached the Madras High Court seeking respite, in May 2019, the court declined to quash the criminal proceedings. Besides, the fast track court in Saidapet was also directed to complete the trial within six months. Meanwhile, the case was transferred to the Special Court for MP/MLAs in Chennai. On Wednesday, when the case came up for hearing, Judge N Alicia sentenced the three to rigorous imprisonment for a year and the fine.
Mr. Sarath Kumar who addressed the media outside the court said that he would be going in for an appeal. "This has been taken up as a cheque bounce case. But the amount is fully covered. There is a ₹2 crore bank guarantee and my property worth ₹4.5 crore is also there. The cheque amount itself is ₹1.5 crore," he said.