Bengaluru: After serving four years jail term awarded by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case, VK Sasikala, close aide of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was released on Wednesday from the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bengaluru. Her release also comes after the fine of over Rs 10 crore was remitted.
The legal documents of her release were signed at the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, where the former AIADMK General Secretary is being treated for COVID-19. Ahead of her release a large number of Sasikala’s supporters gathered outside the hospital, waving AMMK flags.
The hospital authorities also rolled out an official announcement at 9am on January 27, where they told that the 66-year-old politician is asymptomatic for COVID-19, and is conscious, alert and well-oriented. Her condition is stable, she is taking oral food normally and is walking with support.
Talking about her return to Chennai, Sasikala’s nephew Jeyanandh Dhivakaran said that her quarantine ends on January 31 and is likely to come to the city within a week’s time.
On January 20, Sasikala was shifted from Parappana Agrahara jail, where she has been lodged since February 2017, to the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bengaluru after complaints of fever and breathing difficulties. She was later adimitted in Victoria Hospital’s ICU after she was tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Coincidentally, Sasikala’s sister-in-law J Ilavarasi, who was also charged in the DA case and shared same jail cell with her, was also tested positive for the Covid-19 and was moved to the Victoria Hospital from jail. To note, Sasikala’s nephew VN Sudhakaran was also convicted in the DA case.
Meanwhile, Sasikala’s release has been widely speculated for months as Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections are coming closer. The convicted politician, however, is barred from contesting elections for another six years under Section 8 of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1958 which disqualifies a person if convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
On February 14, 2017- nearly 21 years after an FIR was registered against politician Jayalalithaa accusing her of amassing wealth to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during her tenure as Chief Minister, the Supreme Court had restored the trial court’s conviction of Sasikala and her two relatives. However, the case against Jayalalithaa was abated due to her demise, the top court sentenced Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran to four years in prison with a fine of Rs 10 crore each.
Sasikala after taking a dramatic vow at Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai, surrendered before the trial court the next day, on February 15, 2017.