Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's aide VK Sasikala has paid the Rs 10 crore fine she was served in a disproportionate assets case and is expected to be released from prison soon, her lawyer said on Wednesday.
The fine was deposited at a court in Bengaluru through demand drafts, the 69-year-old's counsel N Raja Senthoor Pandian said.
The court is now expected to inform prison authorities about the payment of fine and "I expect her to be free soon, earlier than the scheduled release date of January 27, 2021," he told news agency PTI.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, however, said that the even after release, Ms Sasikala and her family will not be allowed to join the ruling AIADMK party or the government. There shall be no change in the party stand on Ms Sasikala, he told reporters at Coimbatore.
Ms Sasikala's two relatives, who too were jailed for four years and fined Rs 10 crore in the assets case, are in the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail as well. Ms Sasikala's lawyer said the process to pay the fine for the two others was also being taken up.
In 2017, after the Supreme Court restored the Bengaluru trial court judgment against Ms Sasikala and her two relatives, V N Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi in the assets case, the former Chief Minister's confidante surrendered before the Karnataka court on February 15, 2017, and she has been serving her sentence since then.
The trial court had in 2014 convicted J Jayalalithaa and three others on charges, including corruption and criminal conspiracy, 18 years after the disproportionate assets case was filed against her. The AIADMK matriarch was also fined Rs 100 crore.
In 2015, the Karnataka High Court had set aside the trial court's order convicting Ms Jayalalithaa and three others.
With the death of J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, the appeal against her by Karnataka was scrapped.
In the months after the death of Ms Jayalalithaa in office, Ms Sasikala took charge of the ruling AIADMK and even made attempts to take over as Chief Minister until she was sentenced to jail. She unseated O Paneerselvam and installed Mr Palaniswami as the Chief Minister.
Later Mr Panneerselvam and Mr Palaiswami patched up and ousted her and her nephew Dhinakaran who she made No. 2 in the party. They are jointly controlling the party and the government.
Last month, Ms Sasikala's assets worth Rs 1,500 crore were seized by the Income Tax department.