V. K. Sasikala, former leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), has been formally released from a Bengaluru Jail at Parappana Agrahara after having served 4 years of imprisonment in a 2-decade old corruption case.
Following Sasikala’s Counsel, Advocate Senthoor Pandian’s application, all the formalities were completed in the Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru, where she was admitted after testing Covid-19 positive on 21st January 2021.
The prison authorities visited the hospital for issuing the sentence completion certificate and after the signing of the required legal documents, Ms. Sasikala was formally let free on 27th January, 2021.
A number of her followers welcomed her release by gathering outside the hospital, raising slogans and distributing sweets.
Widely known as ‘Chinnama’ by her followers, N. Sasikala was a close companion to the late Tamilnadu’s Chief Minister, Ms. J. Jayalalithaa. She was also highly respected by the members of the AIADMK Party.
After Ms. Jayalalithaa’s death in 2016, N. Sasikala was accepted as AIADMK’s Secretary. However, following the Supreme Court’s verdict in February 2017, she was expelled from the party.
Her nephew, TTV Dinakaran, formed a new party named Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) in 2018 and honored Sasikala as the Party’s President.
Ever since the demise of the former Tamil Nadu CM, there has been widespread disconcerting in the State politics and V. K. Sasikala’s release may cause more agitation especially within the AIADMK and AMMK members. The future of both these parties is highly speculated to change with Sasikala’s presence.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, along with Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran was convicted by a Special Court in 2014 following a corruption case. A case was registered against J. Jayalalithaa in 1996 alleging that she was involved in disappropriation of assets during her tenure as Chief Minister between 1991-1996.
After the Special Court’s sentence of four years imprisonment along with fine, the former CM moved to the Karnataka HC and also sought bail. Though the High Court rejected her bail plea, the Apex Court granted the same.
On 11th May 2015, the Karnataka High Court Bench of Justice Kumaraswamy acquitted all the four accused from the corruption case. The Karnataka Government filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Ms. Jayalalithaa had passed away on 5th December 2016 after combating a prolonged illness. There were rumors spreading across the state that N. Sasikala will take over the chief ministerial position.
However, the Supreme Court Bench comprising P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy, on 14th February 2017, set aside the Karnataka HC’s judgement and upheld the Special Court’s conviction.
While it abated the conviction of Ms. Jayalalithaa because of her death, the Supreme Court held all others guilty of the 1991-96 misappropriation of assets corruption case.
With the verdict, the Top Court had put an end to the 2-decade-old case. Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran were sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 10 Crore.
Further, the Court also barred Sasikala from contesting elections for 10 years. This ruling is based on the Lily Thomas Case Judgement of 2013 and Section 8 of the Representation of People Act, 1958.
However, Sasikala’s Counsels filed a review petition stating that since the Accused No. 1, that is, J. Jayalalithaa’s conviction is abated, there is no need to convict the others. However, the Bench of SA Bobde and Amitava Roy dismissed the same.
N. Sasikala’s release is likely to shatter the political field of Tamil Nadu which is looking forward to its Legislative Assembly Election in May 2021.
Though, the AMMK President cannot contest elections for the next 6 years, yet it can be anticipated that she can make an impact in the State elections even by standing outside the field.