Former All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit ward of Bengaluru’s Victoria Hospital, the Hindustan Times reported.
“She has tested positive for Covid-19 but there are no other complications,” said Dr K Ramesh Krishna, Medical Superintendent at the hospital. “Her oxygen saturation is around 98% with around 10 litres of oxygen. There is a lung infection.”
She had initially tested negative for the coronavirus, but doctors did a TrueNat test and also repeated a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR to confirm if she has contracted the infection, The Hindu reported.
Earlier during the day, Sasikala had been diagnosed with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness. She was admitted to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bengaluru on Wednesday after she complained of fever and breathlessness. Sasikala was shifted to Victoria Hospital at 2.30 pm, according to the Hindustan Times.
“She has been shifted to Victoria Hospital because the police informed us that it is the designated hospital to treat convicts lodged in Parappana Agrahara Central Prison,” Manoj Kumar HV, Dean and Director of Bowing and Lady Curzon Hospital told The News Minute.
The 66-year-old former AIADMK leader was shifted from the prison hospital to Bowring Hospital after her blood oxygen level dropped to less than normal. Dr Kumar added that they have referred her for a CT scan at Victoria Hospital. “Sasikala’s fever has come down and her oxygen saturation is normal,” he said. “We don’t think there is any problem now. Since she has SARI symptoms we have referred for a CT scan.”
Sasikala is serving a four-year jail term after she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case on February 14, 2017. Her lawyer on Wednesday said she would be released from prison on January 27. 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.
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.
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.