The Supreme Court on February 14 found AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala and two of her relatives guilty of corruption in the disproportionate assets case and has convicted them to four years in jail.
The SC’s verdict has put paid to her dreams of becoming the chief minister. Sasikala will have to surrender to the Chennai police immediately so that she could be sent to jail. Also, she and the other accused will have to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore each.
As the verdict was delivered, Sasikaka was at a resort on Chennai outskirts where 120 MLAs from AIADMK have been put up in a bid to prevent them from switching allegiance to caretaker CM O Panneerselvam.
Two SC judges delivered the ruling separately, but agreed Sasikala had, in the 90s, amassed an illegal fortune. The case was originally against late CM Jayalalithaa whose aide was Sasikala.
The verdict makes Sasikala unfit from becoming an MLA and a chief minister. What’s more she has been disqualified from contesting polls for a period of 10 years.
This SC verdict has given Pannerselvam a shot in the arm since he can now stake claim as Jayalalithaa’s true successor.
Welcoming the SC judgement, DMK working president MK Stalin said, “Justice has prevailed after 21 years. We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court.”
In a tweet, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, “The court’s verdict in DA case is out today. The need of the hour is to form an able and stable government in Tamil Nadu as per the wishes of the state’s people.”
The case also named late CM Jayalalithaa. Following a complaint by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, a disproportionate assets case was filed against Jayalalithaa in 1996.
Following the verdict, as many as 22 legislators have crossed over to Panneerselvam’s camp thereby putting Sasikala’s AIADMK in a minority.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi suggested the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao that a special session of the state Assembly should be convened within a week for the composite floor test to decide who has the majority—Panneerselvam or Sasikala.