Chennai: The corruption case in which VK Sasikala has been convicted today was, in fact, centered on whether J Jayalalithaa misused her first term as Chief Minister in the 1990s to accumulate a vast fortune of real estate, cash and jewellery through a maze of companies which were owned by Ms Sasikala and her relatives, two of whom have also been found guilty by the Supreme Court today.
- Jayalalithaa was accused of misusing her first term as Chief Minister
- She was accused of accumulating more wealth than known sources of income
- Personal aide Sasikala, two relatives included in case as co-conspirators
Ms Sasikala, for years, lived with Ms Jayalalitha and was her closest aide, though she had to disown her husband to end an estrangement with the politician a few years ago.
The Supreme Court today sentenced Ms Sasikala to prison, ending her forceful bid to become Chief Minister. Ms Jayalalithaa died in December while still in office.
In its verdict today, the court makes these strong comments about Ms Jayalalithaa's role in the conspiracy:
- Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others (VN Sudhakaran, Ms Sasikala's nephew, and Ilavarasi, her sister-in-law) entered into conspiracy and in furtherance of the same, Jayalalithaa being a public servant came into possession of disproportionate assets to the known source of income and distributed to Sasikala and two others.
- The inflow of funds from Jayalalithaa's account to Sasikala account proves collective involvement of the four accused
- Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi had actively participated in the conspiracy to launder the ill-gotten wealth of Jayalalithaa for personal gains (and) purchasing properties.
- All the accused purchased properties less than market value by forcing the sellers... registration of these properties was done at Jayalalithaa's residence where officials executed the sale deed in violation of rules.
- The ignorance of Jayalalithaa that 12 shell companies operated from her Poes Garden residence can't be accepted
- Sasikala stayed with Jayalalithaa to acquire Jayalalithaa's assets
- The fact that Sasikala and two others did combine to constitute the firms to acquire huge lands from the funds provided by Jayalalithaa was a clear index that their assemblage in Poes Garden (Jayalalithaa's house) was not for any philanthropic urge for friends, but in furtherance of criminal conspiracy to hold assets of Jayalalithaa.