Tamil Nadu

Sasikala to be released from Bengaluru prison on January 27

A file photo of V.K. Sasikala being taken to hospital after she complained of breathlessness and fever.  

Expelled AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala will be officially released from the Central Jail in Parappana Agrahara on Wednesday, where she served a jail term in corruption case. Ms. Sasikala’s counsel, advocate N. Raja Senthoor Pandian, visited the prison office and submitted the requisition to complete required formalities.

 

However, as she is currently at Victoria Hospital where she is being treated for COVID-19, after having contracted the virus last week, officials from the prison department are likely to complete the release formalities at the hospital itself.

Also read | The Sasikala web: how a maze of shell companies link up to her, her family and friends

“She was hospitalised after she reported symptoms of breathlessness and fever. As she has not been discharged, we will come to the hospital to hand over the sentence completion certificate and release her after getting the signature. This will most likely happen by Wednesday afternoon,” said a senior prison official.

The sentence completion certificate issued by the prison department is to ensure that she is no longer in the custody of prison officials. He added that once the formalities are completed, the escort security from the prison will be withdrawn, which symbolises that she is free. That said, she will still get police protection. “The Bengaluru city police will continue to extend security cover to her till further orders. Though officially Ms. Sasikala will not be in any police custody, the security cover is to ensure her safety,” sources said.

It is unclear yet whether Ms. Sasikala will remain at Victoria Hospital where she is being treated or be admitted into another hospital. “Her family members who have camped outside the hospital are eagerly waiting to meet her. But so far, prison officials have not allowed anyone to meet her. There are two rounds of security cover,” said a source close to the family. After the release, the family members will seek the advice of doctors treating her to decide on what next.

Also read | How Sasikala bought properties with demonetised currency notes worth over ₹1,600 crore

When contacted, Smitha Segu, COVID-19 nodal officer in Victoria Hospital, told The Hindu that she is not ready to be discharged. “We have not yet planned for her discharge as she is just out of ICU and on intermittent oxygen. She is being treated as per COVID-19 protocols,” said Ms. Smitha.

A health bulletin by the BMCRI on Tuesday reported that she was asymptomatic. “She is conscious, alert and well-oriented,” the report stated. Her oxygen saturation level was 98% with two litres of oxygen. “She is stable and comfortable, taking oral food and walking with support,” said the bulletin.

How the case unfolded

Former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s close aide V.K Sasikala was convicted on two charges — hatching criminal conspiracy with the former and abetting her in the acquisition and possession of pecuniary resources and properties disproportionate to Jayalalithaa’s known sources of income.

The Special Court, in its September 27, 2014 judgment, which was upheld by the apex court on February 14, 2017, specifically held that Ms. Sasikala along with two other convicts — Elavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran — “at the time of joining the household of Jayalalithaa were not possessed of properties significant enough in their names nor did they have any independent source of income as such.”

Also read | Jayalalithaa, Sasikala criminally conspired at Poes Garden to launder ill-gotten wealth: Supreme Court

Ms. Sasikala and two others acquired properties in their names and in the names of the 34 companies and firms, which they started during the check period, from July 1991 to April 1996, with unaccounted funds and resources of Jayalalithaa, the courts had found.

Ms. Sasikala, Mr. Elavarai and Mr. Sudhakaran indeed had neither the source of income, means nor the wherewithal to be capable of making the huge acquisitions in their names or for their firms/companies during the check period, the apex court had observed while upholding the finds of the special court. The apex court had agreed with the trial court’s finding that the prosecution successfully established that Ms. Sasikala and two others, who posed to be income tax assessees, and their firms/companies had no independent or real source of income and that it was the finance of Jayalalithaa that was really in circulation and thus it could prove beyond reasonable doubt that the only source of money and acquisition of large assets was that of Jayalalithaa’s.

Also read | Jayalalithaa wealth case: timeline of events

The special court had held that Ms. Sasikala and two other convicts had not only started independent concerns in their names, they even purchased/took over defunct companies, but none of these firms or companies did actually carry out any business except acquiring huge properties.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:29:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sasikala-to-be-released-from-prison-on-january-27/article33669357.ece

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