In Setback To Sasikala, Supreme Court Says No Reason To Cancel Conviction

AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala had filed a review petition in May, arguing that the she could not have been convicted in the disproportionate assets case as she had never been a public servant.

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In Setback To Sasikala, Supreme Court Says No Reason To Cancel Conviction

Supreme Court rejected VK Sasikala's petition against her conviction in the disproportionate assets case

NEW DELHI:  VK Sasikala's hopes of getting out of jail and taking charge of the AIADMK crashed on Wednesday when the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against her conviction in a disproportionate assets case that has landed her in jail since February this year. Sasikala had filed a review petition in May, arguing that the she could not have been convicted for disproportionate assets as she had never been a public servant.

The judges declined the AIADMK chief's request to be set free, ruling that the top court did not find any reason to change its verdict convicting Sasikala, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's foster son, and Elavarasi, widow of Sasikala's elder brother.

"We do not find any error in the common judgment impugned, much less an apparent error on the face of the record, so as to call for its review. The review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," a bench of Justices S A Bobde and Amitava Roy.

Review petitions, according to the court's rules, are generally not heard in open court. Instead, the petition is circulated among the judges who delivered the original verdict. Mostly, such petitions are rejected.

Sasikala, 61, was found guilty of conspiring with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who she lived with, to acquire a nearly 60-crore fortune that did not match their disclosed sources of income.

At the heart of the review petition filed by Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's long-time live-in aide, was the contention that the prevention of corruption law did not apply to her since proceedings against Jayalalithaa had ended due to her death. So, Sasikala had argued, irrespective of the court's findings against her, she should be set free to head back home in Tamil Nadu to run the party that she had left to her nephew as her proxy.

For Sasikala, this was a last-ditch effort. Sasikala's lawyers had made the same point during the court proceedings before the Supreme Court sent her to jail but the top court had rejected this view.

The February verdict had blocked her chances of becoming the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister; she had already forced O Panneerselvam to quit. Instead, she was hauled off to a Bengaluru court where she has been serving time since then. Before leaving for jail, she had hurriedly appointed her nephew TTV Dhinakaran as her deputy to run the party in her absence.

But the AIADMK's two big bosses may not be able to hold on to their post for too long.

Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, leaders of the rival factions of the AIADMK, announced a reunion on Monday and have decided to eject the two from the party.

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