New Delhi: A week ago, VK Sasikala was in Chennai and hoped to be Tamil Nadu chief minister. On Thursday, she watched the new chief minister, her loyalist E Palaniswami, take oath on TV from a Bengaluru prison with other inmates sitting around her.
- Guilty of corruption, Sasikala is serving 4-year jail term in Bengaluru
- Cyanide Mallika, who poisoned women for their gold, in cell next to her
- Sasikala initially ignored her attempts to strike up conversation: report
Lodged in an adjacent cell is Cyanide Mallika, who is accused of poisoning six women who she met at temples, for their gold. Her death sentence was turned into a life term.
Bangalore Mirror reports that Cyanide Mallika has repeatedly attempted to talk to Ms Sasikala, who did not respond on her first day in prison, but on Thursday, smiled at the other inmate.
As prisoner no 9234, Ms Sasikala - who drove straight to Bengaluru on Wednesday from Chennai's sprawling Poes Garden bungalow that she shared for many years with former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa - merits no special treatment. Her supporters have lamented that she is finding it difficult to sleep on the floor in her 10 by 8 feet cell in the women's barracks of Bengaluru's largest jail. Her request for a mattress was denied.
Ms Sasikala's demand for home food was also rejected by court and the chief of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK refused to eat on her first night in prison. She was served a meal of two rotis, one ragi ball, 200 gm rice and 150 gm sambar, the regular fare for all inmates. Her sister in law Ilavarasi, also convicted in the same corruption case as Ms Sasikala, reportedly convinced her to eat a small meal.
Ms Sasikala had sought A-class facilities in jail which would include a special room for prayers and yoga and an attached toilet-cum-bathroom. She has been denied that and has been allotted only a plate, a tumbler and a blanket for personal use.
She strode into prison on Wednesday, Ilavarasi by her side and surrounded by policemen, reportedly refusing to travel in a police jeep. "I am not a petty thief. I will not sit in the police jeep. I will sit in the jail cell, but I will not sit like a criminal in an open police jeep. I will walk any distance," said Ms Sasikala, the Bangalore Mirror reports.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court confirmed a four-year jail term for corruption crushing Ms Sasikala's can't hold public office or contest elections for the next 10 years.
The corruption case dates back to the late 1990s, when Ms Jayalalithaa and her closest companion Ms Sasikala, were accused of profiting from the chief minister's office and acquiring wealth beyond their income. They were jointly accused of illegally amassing bungalows, luxury cars, tea estates and vast quantities of gold worth $10 million.
Ms Sasikala, along with Ms Jayalalithaa, had spent nearly a month in the same Bangalore prison in 2014 before being let out on bail.