End of road for Sasikala… Top Court convicts her in DA case

Rajat Kain

AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala. Photo - PTI

AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala.
Photo – PTI

AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natrajan’s hopes of becoming Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has been dashed after the Supreme Court convicted her in the disproportionate assets case. Upholding the trial court’s order, which has convicted Sasikala along with former CM J Jayalalithaa, the apex court also directed her to surrender immediately.

The Supreme Court has, however, abated the appeal proceedings against former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa owing to her death on December 5 last year.

The verdict has come amid a major power tussle between Sasikala and caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. Just yesterday, the Attorney General had suggested Tamil Nadu Governor for a floor test to decide who has the numbers.

With the sentence of four years in jail, Sasikala’s political career, that began soon after Jayalalithaa’s demise in December last year, has received a big jolt.

The matter reached Supreme Court on the batch of appeals, including from Karnataka government, against the Karnataka High Court order acquitting Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, along with the latter’s two relatives — V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi.

FILE: Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Restoring in toto the judgement and the findings of the trial court in Bengaluru which had held guilty all the accused, the two-judge bench comprising Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy directed Sasikala and the two relatives to surrender forthwith to the trial court in Bengaluru and serve the remaining part of four year jail term.

“…. according to the materials and evidence place on record, we set aside the judgement and the order of the high court and affirm in toto the judgement and order the trial court convicting the accused persons,” the bench said reading the operative part of the order.

On 27th September, 2014, a special court in Bengaluru had found the then sitting Chief Minister Jayalalithaa of acquiring disproportionate assets case worth Rs 58 crores during her stint as the CM from 1991 to 1996.

The court had sentenced her to four years imprisonment alongside imposing a whopping fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had also convicted Sasikala, her disowned foster son VN Sudhakaran and another close aide J Illavarasi.

However, in April 2015, the Karnataka High Court acquitted all the accused. The single-judge bench of Justice Kumaraswamy had said that the prosecution failed to prove the conspiracy on the part of accused.