Long-time Jayalalithaa aide VK Sasikala has been convicted by the Supreme Court and sentenced to four years in jail in the 20-year-old disproportionate assets case, dashing her plans to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
The bench upheld the trial court’s verdict that had convicted four persons, including former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The conviction effectively means she will be debarred from contesting elections for 10 years – six years after having served a jail term for four years.
The bench asked Sasikala to surrender before the trial court in Bengaluru immediately and has slapped a fine of Rs 10 crore. The legal recourse open before Sasikala is now to either go for a curative petition or a review petition. But she is not entitled for a bail as there would be no stay on the latest verdict if and when a higher bench overturns it.
“Whenever Jayalalithaa (Amma) was in crisis, I also suffered. This time, I will take it upon me. ‘Justice will prevail’,” Sasikala said.
According to charges in the DA case, Jayalalithaa along with three co-accused — Sasikala, Sasikala’s sister-in-law Ilavarasi and Sasikala’s nephew V N Sudhakaran (Jayalalithaa’s foster son who she disowned later) — allegedly acquired assets of Rs 66.65 crore, which was disproportionate to her known sources of income.
All eyes are now on the Governor who is expected to announce his decision soon. However, with Sasikala getting convicted under the Representation of the People Act that debars her from holding any Constitutional posts for 10 years, inviting Panneerselvam to be the chief minister and prove his majority on the floor of the house seems to be the natural choice left for the Governor.
“Justice has prevailed. We are happy,” former AIADMK MP K.C. Palaniswamy said.
According to Palaniswamy, the legislators supporting Sasikala will now shift their loyalty to Panneerselvam. As per the reports, Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran soon became Jayalalithaa’s foster son. After Sasikala convict she is trying to bring her nephew into the picture, who came into limelight at Jayalalitha funeral ceremony.
In the meanwhile, as soon as the SC bench upheld Sasikala’s conviction, police entered the Koovathur resort outside Chennai where Sasikala is holed up with her 118 MLAs.