Expelled All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala has approached a court in Chennai seeking early hearing of a civil suit filed to reclaim her general secretary post in the party, reported NDTV on Thursday. Elections in the state are scheduled to be held in April-May.
Sasikala’s plea has been listed for hearing on March 15. The former AIADMK leader has filed the case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, challenging the AIADMK’s decisions, reported The Hindu.
Sasikala, a close aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, had filed a lawsuit in the Madras High Court in 2017 against a general council meeting of the AIADMK, convened by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, to remove her as the party general secretary. Following the death of Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK had split into two factions, each led by Palaniswami and 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.
Advocate N Raja Senthoor Pandian, representing Sasikala, said on Wednesday that the case was transferred from the High Court to the city civil court in December 2020 as the jurisdiction of the local court related to financial matters was increased from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. “In 2017, we had valued the suit to be Rs 25 lakh,” he said. “Now that it had been transferred, we gave a letter to the registry of the city civil court on Monday for early listing of the case and the case has been listed for hearing on March 15.”
Sasikala’s suit contends to declare Palaniswami, Panneerselvam, Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan, former Tamil Nadu minister S Semmalai and AIADMK presidium chairperson E Madusudhanan are not members of the AIADMK. The plea also submits that all actions taken by them in their capacity as officer-bearers are not illegal and against the party bylaws.
The petitioners have also sought to restrain the defendants from operating AIADMK bank accounts. In November 2017, Justice CV Karthikeyan had passed an interim order, directing the managers of the three bank branches to provide details of the transactions carried out between December 29, 2016, and November 29, 2017. P Mahalingam, managers of the AIADMK headquarters, were also asked to submit a list of records and registers and ensure that they had not been tampered.
Sasikala was released from prison on January 27 following a four-year-long sentence in a corruption case. She was moved to a hospital for coronavirus treatment and was discharged on January 31. After her release, she was seen travelling in a car with AIADMK flags, although she was removed as a party member. She also announced her return to politics. However, Palaniswami has ruled out any possibility of her rejoining the party.
Earlier this month, Sasikala’s lawyer had said that the expelled leader was planning to move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s decision to use the party name and the “two leaves” symbol.