Former All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was on Wednesday admitted to the Parappanna Agrahara prison hospital after complaining of fever and breathlessness, reported The Hindu. Sasikala’s release is due on January 27.
She 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.
After she was admitted to the hospital, prison officials said they would be taking her to the Bowring Hospital for a second opinion, according to The Hindu.
A rapid antigen test of the former AIADMK leader has come back negative for Covid-19, reported NDTV. Her swab sample will reportedly be tested with the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR to confirm if she has contracted the infection.
Jail officials in Bengaluru have informed Sasikala’s legal team about her health condition.
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.
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.