New Delhi: In a major development, the Income-Tax department on Tuesday attached ‘benami’ properties worth Rs 1,600 crores belonging to VK Sasikala, an aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The properties were attached under the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.

The properties of Sasikala, who is currently lodged in Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara jail in a disproportionate assets case, were bought using Rs 1,500 crore demonetised notes under fictitious names, sources told news agency ANI. These properties are located in Chennai, Puducherry and Coimbatore.

Officials told news agency PTI that a provisional order of attachment against Sasikala was issued to her earlier under section 24(3) of the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988.

The action could not be taken against her as the payments for purchasing these properties were done in cash and MoUs were signed between the executing parties.

The development comes after the income tax department conducted raids against Sasikala and a few others in 2017 and had recovered these documents that time. Prior to the raid, she was being questioned by the I-T department in connection with this case in the past.

Notably, she has been banned by the Supreme Court from participating in elections. Though she took over the AIADMK responsibility after the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, later was removed from the party by the Chief Minister K Palaniswami.