New Delhi: After days of suspense, AIADMK Gneeral Secretary, VK Sasikala’s chief ministerial dreams have been shattered. The wily friend and companion of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was today found guilty of corruption by Supreme Court.
This is a major news for the entire state that has been on the tenterhook for the last several weeks, more so after acting chief minister O Panneerselvam’s revolt against her. Till the last moment, more than 120 MLAs were sticking with the longtime associate of the former chief minister. It is yet to be seen which way the MLAs supporting her will go.
The two-member bench of the apex court in a landmark ruling with long-term implications found her guilty of corruption. The court has asked her to complete her remaining 4 years term in jail. It also implies that the former video parlor owner cannot contest election for 10 years.
When the judgment was delivered the 60 year old Sasikala was at a five-star resort where she was staying with 120 MLAS. While the judgment doesn’t single out her role, it rips a huge role through the legacy of Ms Jayalalithaa. In 2014, both women were jailed in Bengaluru, where the case was first tried. After being acquitted by the highest court in Karnataka, Ms Jayalalithaa returned to office. The appeal against the acquittal was filed in the Supreme Court by the Karnataka government, which has prosecuted the case.
This means that Panneerselvam can still be removed from the chief minister’s post. With the Supreme Court ruling against Sasikala and others, her chances to become the Chief Minister of the state are now ruled out, though she can appoint some trusted party leader to the post, similar to what Jayalalithaa did twice when she was convicted in cases and lost the Chief Ministership. It may be noted that twice, in 2001 and 2014, when Jayalalithaa was convicted by the Courts, Panneerselvam took over as the Chief Minister, who gave back the position when Jayalalithaa returned with favourable verdicts.