AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala addressing media at the resort on third consecutive day in Kuvathur in East Coast Road near Chennai on Feb 13, 2017. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: VK Sasikala has been convicted by the Supreme Court in the 20-year-old disproportionate assets case dashing her plans to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
She has been sent to four years in jail besides a fine of Rs 10 crore, and the conviction effectively means she will be debarred from contesting elections.
Prime accused late chief minister J Jayalalithaa too has been convicted along with three others who are part of Sasikala’s extended family.
The SC bench headed by Justice Pinaki Ghosh and Justice Amitava Roy in effect upheld a trial court verdict that had convicted all five in the case. The verdict was challenged in the Karnataka High Court that had overturned the trial court verdict.
The much-awaited SC judgment brings curtains down on her ambitions to become the chief minister in place of Jayalalithaa, who had passed away last year.
It also clears decks for her estranged colleague and ‘caretaker’ chief minister O Panneerselvam, who had raised the banner of rebellion last week.
State’s acting Governor Vidyasagar Rao’s reluctance in inviting Sasikala – who has been elected as the AIADMK legislative party leader – was criticised by pro-Sasikala faction and BJP leaders like Subramanian Swamy.
All eyes are now on the Governor who is expected to announce his decision soon. However, with Sasikala getting convicted under the Representation of the People Act that effectively debars her from holding any Constitutional posts, inviting Panneerselvam to be the chief minister and prove his majority on the floor of the house seems to be the only choice left for the Governor.