Will financial default cases against his wife come to haunt Rajinikanth?

Even as Rajinikanth’s team led by Tamilaruvi Manian and Ra Arjuna Murthy is busy chalking out plans to launch him politically, the pending court cases over alleged financial default by his wife Latha seem to be coming to haunt the superstar.

On Monday, as the Rajini Makkal Mandram was drawing plans for bringing more members to the party and clarified on the registration and election symbol, the Madras High Court warned Latha of contempt proceedings in the school rental case. The court directed the Sree Raghavendra Education Society of which Latha is the secretary to vacate the Ashram Matriculation School premises at Guindy in Chennai by April 2021. The court also restrained the school from admitting students for the academic year 2021-22.

Justice N. Sathish Kumar passed the order on an application filed by the society seeking extension of time till April 2021 for vacating the premises. While the court decreed the suit with respect to eviction, it rejected the society’s prayer in terms of paying the rentals.

The property, which houses one of the branches of the Ashram school run by Latha, was let out on rent by Ch Venkateswaralu and Ch Purnachandra Rao. However, the alleged non-payment of rental dues and failure by the Raghvendra Educational Society in remitting the deducted TDS with the government led to a dispute between Latha and Venkateswaralu in 2014.

Venkateswaralu, who approached Latha several times for payment of the rental dues, sealed the school premises on August 15, 2017. Following this, over 300 students studying in the school premises were shifted to another location. But the dispute subsequently went to the court. On December 14 this year, the court settled the issue, asking the society to vacate the premises and pay the rentals and the TDS.

A statement issued by Vandana Tugrait of the Raghavendra Educational Society claimed that Latha had not been subjected to contempt proceedings by the High Court.

“Any dissemination of information of facts contrary to the above is nothing but to malign our institution and Latha Rajinikanth,” she said in the statement. However, she did not clarify if the pending rental and TDS dues have been paid and if the dispute has been settled.

In the meantime, another financial default case also seems to be coming to haunt Latha. In July 2018, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi had come down heavily on Latha for her attempts to backtrack from her undertaking that she would repay the dues to Ad Bureau Advertising, a private company which had entered into a distribution rights contract for Rajinikanth-starrer Kochadaiiyaan with Latha and its producer Dr J. Murali Manohar.

In December 2014, the Ad Bureau Advertising filed a complaint with the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai Police, saying Latha and Manohar had cheated the firm to the tune of Rs 10 crore after entering into an agreement with them to give the Tamil Nadu distribution rights of the movie.

According to the complaint, the Tamil Nadu lease rights of the film were sold to the agency by Manohar, who is also the director of Mediaone Global Entertainment Ltd, and guaranteed by Latha. However, both Manohar and Latha later illegally sold the rights to Eros International, it said.

Abirchand Nahar of Ad Bureau Advertising also alleged in his complaint that the same company had purchased the distribution rights of Rajinikanth’s Linga, released after Kochadaiiyaan, and accused Latha of willfully defrauding. The director of Kochadaiiyaan, Soundarya Rajinikanth, too, was also pulled into the row as she had then become the CEO of Eros International.

In 2018 July, the apex court directed Latha to repay the dues or face trial. Speaking to THE WEEK, sources at the Ad Bureau Advertising said that the trial would begin any time soon, as Rajinikanth’s family had not honoured the Supreme Court’s order to repay the dues.

Sources say that Latha facing trial in the Supreme Court in a financial default case might send wrong signals to Rajinikanth’s followers at a time when the superstar has confirmed the date for his political party launch. Earlier, a case related to alleged tax evasion by Rajinikanth had come to light and the actor had declared himself to be into money lending. Also, a case pertaining to the alleged non-payment of property tax dues to the Chennai Corporation for his Raghavendra Marriage Hall at Kodambakkam propped up. Even before all these cases came up, the Madras High Court in 2017 had fixed a month ultimatum to Latha to give consent for enhancement of monthly rent for a shop which she had taken on lease from Chennai Corporation.

Apparently Rajinikanth’s one-line ideology is: “Change. Change everything.” The actor, who is at present shooting for his next film Annaththe in Hyderabad, has always been vociferous against corruption and for bringing in a ‘system’ for change. Despite all the above allegations, the superstar, who is all set to launch his way of spiritual politics in the Dravidian land, is looked at as a clean and honest personality. 

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply