Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide and AMMK leader VK Sasikala is likely to be released from the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru this month. Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Sasikala’s lawyer N Raja Senthoor Pandian confirmed that she is likely to be released on or before January 27.
The counsel made the submission before Madras High Court Justices M Duraiswamy and TV Tamilselvi on Thursday while seeking an adjournment of a case filed by the Income Tax Department with issues relating to the returns filed by her for the assessment year 1994-95. The counsel had informed the court that by January 27 Sasikala is likely to be released and urged them to adjourn the tax case to the second week of February as his client would be released by that time and he could obtain the necessary instructions to act upon the case. The bench of justices adjourned the plea to the first week of February.
“The last I met Sasikala madam was in March. It has been 11 months now. Ever since the pandemic broke out, Parappana Agrahara prison authorities restricted our entry into the prison premises. Though I communicate with her through official letters, It is difficult for me to explain these case details to her through that and hence we asked them to adjourn the case,” Pandian said.
Earlier in September 2020, responding to an RTI query by an advocate and activist T Narasimha Murthy, the office of the Chief Superintendent of Prison said that Sasikala will be able to walk out of prison if she agrees to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore in the disproportionate assets case and in case if she fails to pay that amount, the probable date of the release would be on February 27, 2022, and it may further vary if she utilizes the parole facility.
In November 2020, Sasikala paid the fine amount imposed on her by the Bengaluru special court. The amount of Rs 10 crore was remitted to the 34th City Civil Court by way of demand drafts through her family.
The case pertains to amassing of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during J Jayalalithaa’s tenure as the Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996. In September 2014, a special court convicted Jayalalithaa to simple imprisonment for four years. The three co-accused VK Sasikala, VN Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi were also convicted. Jayalalithaa was slapped a 100-crore fine and was forced to step down as the Chief Minister. The rest of the accused were awarded a fine amount of Rs 10 crores each.
Jayalalithaa challenged the conviction and moved the Karnataka High Court which acquitted her of all charges. However, in 2017, the Supreme Court set aside the Karnataka High Court judgment and upheld the special court verdict convicting all four of them. The charges against Jayalalithaa were abated in view of her death on December 5, 2016.
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