Sarath Kumar, the Tamil actor turned politician, and his wife, actor Radikaa Sarathkumar were sentenced to one-year imprisonment in connection with a cheque bounce case by a special court constituted for hearing cases against MPs and MLAs in Chennai on Wednesday, Live Law reported.
The couple have also been fined Rs 5 crore as penalty. The case was being heard by Judge N Alicia.
In 2018, Radiance Media Private Ltd filed a plea against the couple. The couple and producer Listin Stephen, who are partners of film production company Magic Frames Company, produced the Tamil film Idhu Enna Maayam (2015) starring Vikram Prabhu and Keerthy Suresh and directed by AL Vijay.
Listin, Sarath Kumar, and Radikaa had borrowed Rs 1.5 crore from Radiance in November 2014 and had issued two cheques, each worth Rs 75 lakh, to repay the loan. Sarath Kumar had also borrowed Rs 50 lakh and issued five cheques worth Rs 10 lakh each. However, according to Radiance Media, all the cheques bounced when they were placed for realisation in March 2017. As the trio failed to pay, Radiance Media approached a fast track court in Saidapet, Chennai, and filed a petition against Magic Frames Company.
In May 2019, the couple and Listin approached the Madras High Court and sought to quash the criminal proceedings against them. However, the court declined to do so and the case was transferred to the special court which was directed to complete the trial within six months. Subsequently, the court ordered one-year imprisonment and a fine to Sarath Kumar, Radikaa, and Listin on Wednesday.
However, the judgement was kept in abeyance for 30 days after Sarath Kumar and his wife appealed seeking a suspension of the order.
Speaking to the media, Sarath Kumar said, “The agreement we had with the company comes to an end only in June 2019 and they have presented the cheque beforehand, was our side of the argument. Even the agreement clauses say that the matter will be internally discussed but they have made it as a cheque bounce case. Even then, the amount is covered. I have a bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore, Rs 4.5 crore worth property and have given a cheque of Rs 1.5 crore too. Despite all these, they have gone to the court so we are not happy and will go for an appeal.”
Sarath Kumar floated his political party All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi in 2007 and allied with Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam in the recently held 16th Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections. Asked if there was a political implication in the judgement after he quit the alliance with the AIADMK, Sarath Kumar said: “I don’t want to escape by saying it has got political implications to it. It is purely a business matter. This case should have been dismissed and had no relation to my political alliance. I thought they will dismiss the case and that is why I came to court. We will approach the high court.”
He said his wife, Radhikaa, had just taken the vaccine for Covid-19 and was suffering from fever and headache.
Radikaa took the vaccine on March 2.
“The arrest warrant will be quashed and I have produced her medical certificate too,” he said.