VK Sasikala, former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader, will be released from hospital on Sunday, said reports. Sasikala was being treated for the coronavirus at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.
“Sasikala Natarajan is asymptomatic,” Livemint quoted the hospital bulletin as saying. “She’s conscious and alert. Her vital parameters are stable and her blood sugars under control. She is maintaining saturation without oxygen and is walking with support. She is being continuously monitored.”
She was on Wednesday released from prison after serving a four-year jail sentence in a corruption case.
Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, was convicted in a disproportionate assets case in February 2017. She was released from prison 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, Jayalalithaa was also accused of colluding with Sasikala, her sister-in-law Ilavarasi, and their nephew Sudhakaran between 1991 and 1996. The four had allegedly amassed money 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.
Sasikala’s release comes ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, which will be held this summer. It is unclear whether this will impact the party’s performance in the elections, especially since Sasikala was removed from the AIADMK.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on January 20 had 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 had 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 Sasikala’s return to the party was discussed.