VK Sasikala released from prison, will remain hospitalised for Covid

Sasikala, a long-time companion of Jayalalithaa, was seen as the former CM’s political heir. Although she made a bid for the post of CM following Jayalalithaa's death in 2016, her plans came a cropper as the Supreme Court upheld the conviction in ...

VK Sasikala walks free after serving four-year jail term in assets case
Bengaluru/ Chennai: VK Sasikala, expelled AIADMK leader and a close aide of the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa was released from the Bengaluru central prison on Wednesday morning after she completed a four-year jail term.

The 66-year-old, however, will take time to leave Bengaluru as she has tested positive for Covid-19 and is under treatment at Victoria Hospital.

Then special court judge John Michael Cunha had on September 27, 2014, convicted Sasikala, among the others, to four years of simple imprisonment in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.


On Wednesday, the Parappana Agrahara prison staff visited Sasikala at the hospital and completed the release formalities. Sasikala’s release came on a day when Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami unveiled a grand memorial for Jayalalithaa at Chennai’s Marina Beach.

Meanwhile, an official bulletin from the Victoria Hospital said she will continue to receive treatment for Covid-19 for a few more days as per the state's Covid protocol.

“The decision for her to continue treatment in Victoria Hospital has been taken by her and her family members,” Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute dean Dr CR Jayanthi said in the bulletin.
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Sasikala, a long-time companion of Jayalalithaa, was seen as the former CM’s political heir. Although she made a bid for the post of CM following Jayalalithaa's death in 2016, her plans came a cropper as the Supreme Court upheld the conviction in the 21-year-old case. After her arrest, Edappadi K Palaniswamy, whom she chose to be Tamil Nadu CM, revolted against her and joined hands with another faction led by O Paneerselvam, another confidant of Jayalalithaa, to run the government. Within months, the AIADMK expelled Sasikala from the party and also nullified all appointments she had previously made.

Sasikala’s release has sparked speculation over the possible impact of her arrival in Tamil Nadu politics as the state is gearing up for assembly election in the next few months. “The impact can only be assessed after the election. I do not see her release making much difference ahead of the polls,” said Chennai-based political analyst Sumanth C Raman. Her presence, he said, would make a difference if the AIADMK loses badly in the election as she would then serve as a focal point for all dissidents.

According to some political watchers, one of the reasons why the ruling party has not taken her entry to the capital seriously is because of her lack of popularity among the public.

But others said EPS’s comments ruling out her return to the party could antagonise the dominant Thevar community, which has always remained loyal to Sasikala. “Hurting Thevar is bound to affect EPS’s chances in the election because it is the community that the AIADMK has traditional holdover,” political observer Tharasu Shyam told ET. According to him, Sasikala was all along the force behind the AIADMK. “Jayalalithaa was the figurehead who was worshipped but Sasikala was the one to call the shots behind the scenes,” he said.
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