Former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala, who was released from a jail in Bengaluru last month, on Monday returned to Tamil Nadu, The Times of India reported. Her vehicle carried the AIADMK flag, even though the Tamil Nadu Police had barred her from using it.
After being released from jail, Sasikala had been moved to a hospital in Bengaluru for coronavirus treatment. She was discharged on January 31 and stayed at a resort for a few days.
On Monday, she travelled from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu by road. Hundreds of supporters came out on the streets to give her a rousing reception. They were also seen showering petals on her car.
Speaking to her supporters and the media in Vaniyambadi, Sasikala said that she will be involved in active politics, reported the Hindustan Times. “I’m enslaved by your affection, Tamil people and cadre but I will not yield to oppression,” she added.
Heavy security was deployed at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border ahead of Sasikala’s journey. Senior leaders of the AIADMK had complained to the police about the possibility of riots after her return to Tamil Nadu, News18 reported.
“We have told the police that they must stop this conspiracy and stop Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran from misusing the party flag and name,” Tamil Nadu Law Minister CV Shanmugam had said.
On Sunday, the police had asked Sasikala not to display the AIADMK flag on her vehicle, The Hindu reported. They also restricted the number of vehicles in her convoy to five.
Last month too, Sasikala had left the hospital in Bengaluru in a vehicle carrying the AIADMK flag. This was seen as a political signal ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
Before Sasikala’s release Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had ruled out any possibility of her rejoining the AIADMK. However, it has been reported that the Bharatiya Janata Party has been pushing its ally to let Sasikala back into the party fold to avoid a split of votes that could benefit rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, was convicted in a disproportionate assets case on February 14, 2017.
In the 21-year-old case, Jayalalithaa was also accused of colluding with Sasikala, her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi, and their nephew VN 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.
Properties of Sasikala’s relatives seized
A day before Sasikala’s return to Tamil Nadu, properties owned by Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi in Chennai were seized, News18 reported. This was done in compliance with an order of the Supreme Court from 2017.
The Tamil Nadu government said that the income from the properties would accrue to it.