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The Supreme Court in India has directed restoration of a cheating case filed against the wife of superstar Rajinikanth for allegedly diverting money paid to her for post-production of the movie 'Kochadaiiyaan'.
A bench comprising A S Boppana and M M Sundresh said that Latha Rajinikanth should either file an application seeking discharge or face the trial proceedings.
The bench said that if an application seeking discharge is filed before the trial court, the impugned order of the Karnataka High Court partly quashing the cognisance taken under Sections 196, 199 and 420 of the IPC will not stand in the way.
The high court in August 2022 had said that the allegation relating to cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property has been recklessly included.
The complaint is based on the allegation that Latha Rajinikanth had fraudulently induced the Managing Director of a Chennai-based advertising company to deliver monies under the pretext of post-production cost of the movie. However, she allegedly diverted the money for other purposes, thereby causing him wrongful loss.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had set aside another order of the Karnataka High Court quashing the FIR in the same dispute, saying that the high court should have allowed the trial to progress.
“We make it clear that…the averments in the complaint constitute a prima facie case for commencement of the trial,” it had said, while holding that the dispute had all the prima facie ingredients for being adjudicated by means of a criminal trial.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered that Latha’s physical presence in the case will stand dispensed with unless required by the trial court. “We further make it clear that we have not expressed any opinions on the merits of the case and it is well open to the parties to resolve the issue, also through mediation,” the top court said.