In a big relief to actor-turned-politician Sarathkumar, a special court in Chennai has ceased the one-year prison sentence awarded to him hours after dictating the verdict. Though the court has stopped the prison sentence with the view of providing time to the actor to move his appeal, his wife Raadhika, the co-accused in the case, has been issued with an arrest warrant. The development has come exactly the day after Tamil Nadu cast its vote to elect the new government.
A special court in Chennai, which has been installed probe the cases involving the elected representatives including MLA and MP, had pronounced its verdict and awarded one-year prison sentence each to Sarathkumar and his wife Raadhika under the cheque racketing case. The Sarathkumars were accused of failing to repay the debt and involving in a cheque racket.
According to reports, Magic Frames production company, in which Sarathkumar, Raadhika, and Listin Stephen were partners, had decided to produce a movie in 2014 by roping in Vikram Prabhu and Keerthy Suresh. To produce the movie, the couple had approached Radiant company and obtained Rs 1.5 crore debt with the assurance that they will repay the amount by March 2015.
They further asserted that the movie will be released only after settling the funds. However, they failed to repay the amount and they went on to produce a movie called 'Paambu Sattai' by using the fund post which Radiance Media has filed a case against Magic Frames and moved its petition to the court. In the court, Radiance Media said that it had given a debt of Rs 1.5 crore to Magic Frames in the year 2014. Additionally, Sarathkumar had borrowed a Rs 50 lakh hand loan from the film financing company. Radiance Media was told that the amount obtained would be spent in the making of the film titled 'Idhu Enna Maayam' in 2015. As per the agreement, the amount should be repaid in 2015.
Radiance Media said that Magic Frames didn't live up to the agreement and failed to pay the amount. It further said that Magic Frames had issued seven cheques and all the cheques had bounced back following which seven cases were filed against Magic Frames. After the episodes of bounced cheques, the partners of Magic Frames had promised to hand over the film's television rights or the rights of their next film if they were unable to repay the loan amount. The petition was filed in a fast-track court in Saidapet in 2017. Radiance Media had requested the court to provide a maximum sentence to the accused under section 138, 141, and 142 of the Negotiable Instrument Act and under section 420 of IPC and further order payment of compensation.
The case has been under hearing and in July 2019, the court has issued bailable arrest warrants against Sarathkumar, Raadhika, and Listin Stephen in connection with the case of financial fraud. The hearing was then transferred to a special court which has on Wednesday dictated the verdict by awarding a one-year prison sentence each to Sarathkumar, Raadhika, and Listin Stephen and also imposed a fine of Rs 3.30 crore. The verdict has shocked the couple and Sarathkumar and Stephen had filed an appeal against the verdict seeking to suspend the order by citing that they are taking the appeal to the Madras High Court. As the prison sentence was under three years, the court has given interim relief for Sarathkumar and Stephen on the imprisonment order for 30 days.
However, when the court had poured a relief on Sarathkumar, it has gone tough against Raadhika as it has issued an arrest warrant for Sarathkumar's wife under the grounds of skipping the trial and hearing. The development that Sarathkumar and Raadhika were given a prison sentence has come a day after Tamil Nadu had gone through the polling to elect the new government. Sarathkumar's Samathuva Makkal Katchi had contested in the polls by forming a coalition with Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam and Paarivendhar's Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK). The parties had formed the third front to take on the ADMK and DMK.