AIADMK chief VK Sasikala arrives at the resort in Koovathur at East Coast Road to meet party MLAs on February 11. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: ‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala is not the first to have her political hopes dashed by the courts, and she won’t be the last. Others who have had to step down because of court convictions include former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad, Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and political nomad Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Lalu Prasad (convicted for corruption): The veteran Bihar politician is no stranger to corruption cases. He was accused in the fodder scam and a disproportionate assets case. In 1996, Yadav’s name surfaced in the Rs 450-crore fodder scam. In 1997, the CBI filed a chargesheet and made Yadav an accused in the case. He promptly installed his wife Rabri Devi as the Chief Minister.
In 2013, a CBI court in Ranchi convicted Lalu in the fodder scam. Immediately after the verdict was pronounced, he was arrested and taken to Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi. He was also disqualified as a Member of Parliament and became ineligible to contest elections for six years under the Representation of People’s Act.
Maya Kodnani (convicted for murder): Maya Kodnani was the Minister for Women and Child Development in Gujarat, but resigned in 2009 due to her impending arrest as an accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Kodnani was convicted of orchestrating the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya massacres on February 28 2002, in which 97 Muslims were killed. Kodnani ignored notices for deposition by the Special Investigation Team, which declared her an absconder. She obtained anticipatory bail from a Sessions Court, which was revoked by the Gujarat High Court in 2009, leading to her arrest. She was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Navjot Sidhu (convicted for culpable homicide): In 1991, Sidhu was accused of assaulting Praveen Shah and causing his death after a road rage incident. Sidhu was arrested by the Punjab Police and spent several days in a Patiala jail. Sidhu claimed in court that he was innocent.
In December 2006, Sidhu was found guilty and sentenced to a three-year prison term for culpable homicide. Following the sentencing, Sidhu resigned as a Member of Parliament and in January 2007 appealed to the Supreme Court. The apex court stayed his conviction and sentence, allowing him to contest and win the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in February 2007.
According to the law, politicians who are convicted and get bail are not eligible to contest elections. It is only when the court sets aside the conviction that one can contest elections and hold political office.