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Supreme Court Convicts V K Sasikala In DA case; Can't Contest Elections For 10 Years
AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme Court which set aside the Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case that also involved late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa
Photo Credit : PTI
AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala was on Tuesday (February 14) convicted by the Supreme Court which set aside the Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case that also involved late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The apex court restored in toto the judgement and the findings of the trial court in Bengaluru which had held guilty all the accused including Sasikala's two relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi.
The two-judge bench comprising Justices P C 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.
The verdict disqualifies Sasikala from becoming a legislator, and consequentially she can't be chief minister either.
The bench read the operative portion of the voluminous judgement saying that "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 since Jayalalithaa has expired, the proceeding against her is abated.
"Nevertheless, we reiterate that having regard to the facts, the charge framed against them by the trial court is restored," the bench said.
"Since the charges framed by the trial court have been restored against all of them they will surrender forthwith before the trial court and serve the remaining part of the sentence," the bench said.
The trial court had sentenced Sasikala and her two relatives to four years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 10 crore each. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years with a fine of Rs 100 crore.
In a separate but concurring judgement, Justice Amitava Roy said, "We have expressed deep concern about escalating menace of corruption in society."
On June 7 last year, the apex court had reserved its verdict in the case after hearing detailed arguments from all the parties including the Karnataka government.
On July 27, 2015, the apex court had issued notices on Karnataka government's appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement to Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her relatives.
The Karnataka HC had on May 11, 2015 ruled that Jayalalithaa's conviction by special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
The special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.
Jayalalithaa and three others were accused of allegedly amassing disproportionate asserts to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during her first term as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996.
Minutes after the apec court convicted Sasikala, the AIADMK threw its weight behind the party General Secretary, saying she has always carried the "burden" of Jayalalithaa.
"Whenever there had been burden for Amma (Jayalalithaa) she (Sasikala) had taken it on her. She is doing the same now also. #Chinnamma," the party's official Twitter handle, @AIADMKOfficial said.
Meanwhile, security has been strengthened across Tamil Nadu after the apex court verdict in the disproportionate assets case.
Police presence was especially stepped up at a resort, about 80 kms from Chennai, where MLAs supporting her have been housed since the past few days.
Sasikala herself stayed overnight at the resort.
Police personnel were also seen maintaining vigil on the roads in Chennai and other parts of the state.
She was elected as the Legislature Party Leader on February 5, paving the way for her becoming Chief Minister.
However, two days later, Panneerselvam raised a banner of revolt against her, alleging he was forced to step down for her.
Over the past few days the rival camps traded charges and counter-charges with some MPs and MLAs deserting Sasikala.