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Jaya on Tansi land return track

Chennai, Jan. 1: Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa and her friend, Sassikala, are believed to have returned the two controversial plots of land purchased from the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation (Tansi) during her previous tenure. The land was purchased by Jaya Publications, in which the two were partners.

The duo proposed to “surrender the two pieces of land without seeking the return of the money (Rs.1.68 crore) they had paid for the purchase of the properties” in a recent affidavit to the Supreme Court.

However, there was no official confirmation on this till late this evening, even though the papers are said to be in an advance stage for “reconveyance”. A senior state government official was very guarded when he said that the “actual position will be known only tomorrow”.

The purchase of land from the small industries development corporation had stirred a political storm, leading to the conviction of Jayalalithaa and Sassikala by a special court —constituted by the previous DMK regime — for causing revenue losses to the state exchequer from underevaluation of the properties.

Jayalalithaa and Sassikala were subsequently acquitted in December 2001 by Madras High Court in the two land deals. This paved the way for Jayalalithaa’s return to chief ministership through a byelection in Andipatti in February 2002.

The Supreme Court, however, is yet to give its verdict on the DMK’s appeal against the high court decision.

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