VK Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, will be released from prison on January 27, reported NDTV.
Sasikala was convicted in a disproportionate assets case on February 14, 2017. She is set to be released after paying a Rs 10-crore fine, failing which her imprisonment would have been extended by 13 more months.
Sasikala’s lawyer N Raja Senthoor Pandian said on Tuesday that he has received an e-mail from the chief superintendent of the Parapanna Agrahara Prison, where Sasikala is lodged, informing him about his client’s release, according to Deccan Herald. “The e-mail says my client, Ms V K Sasikala, is eligible for release during the morning hours of January 27, 2021,” Pandian said. “With this, it is clear that my client will be released on the said date.”
Her release from prison comes ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. Sasikala has been an influential part of Tamil Nadu politics and her release is likely to help the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the upcoming polls.
However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has ruled out any possibility of her rejoining the AIADMK. “She is not in the party at all... she is not in the party,” the chief minister said. “100% she will not be admitted. AIADMK is now functioning after clearly deciding on this. There is no different opinion on this.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, has been reportedly pushing its partner to let Sasikala back into the party fold to avoid a split of votes that could benefit the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. However, Palaniswami, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, denied that the subject of Sasikala’s return to the party was discussed.
Palaniswami had fallen at Sasikala’s feet after she anointed him as the chief minister. However, this happened before she was convicted.
Later, the party had split into two factions, each led by Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had sought Sasikala’s removal as the party chief. Following months of political drama, the two factions merged in August 2017 and Sasikala was sacked from the party.
In November, Pandian had said Sasikala would be released before January 27. “I expect her to be free soon, earlier than the scheduled release date of January 27, 2021,” he had said.
In the 21-year-old case against Sasikala, Jayalalithaa was accused of colluding with her, Sasikala’s sister-in-law Ilavarasi, and their nephew Sudhakaran between 1991 and 1996. The four had allegedly amassed a wealth of around Rs 65 crore, which were disproportionate to their known sources of income. Some of the properties under the scanner in the case include Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad estate and her Poes Garden residence.