Chennai: Tamil Nadu ministers meeting AIADMK chief VK Sasikala in jail is a breach of their oath of secrecy, says the Madras High Court. Four ministers and Chief Minister E Palaniswami have been issued notice on a petition that alleges that Ms Sasikala, serving a four-year sentence for corruption, is running the Tamil Nadu government from a jail.
- Madras High Court says VK Sasikala is breaching an of oath of secrecy
- Sasikala meeting Tamil Nadu Ministers while in jail breaches the oath
- AIADMK Spokesperson said the meeting was not to take government decisions
"It appears the chief minister did not question ministers. There's prima facie a breach of oath of secrecy," observed the High Court yesterday.
The petition is by T Aanalagan, a supporter of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam or OPS - who leads a rebel faction of the ruling AIADMK. Mr Aanalagan alleges that Forest Minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan, Cooperatives Minister Sellur Raju and Food Minister R Kamaraj met with Ms Sasikala at the Bengaluru Central Jail and took instructions from her.
They even announced that in a press conference, he alleges, calling it unconstitutional. Mr Palaniswami or EPS, he said, was a silent spectator.
"It's a breach of oath of office and secrecy. The Chief Minister did not object to this. They should be disqualified," argued the petitioner's lawyer Ananda Murugan in court, adding that the state governor should act against the ministers. The four ministers have not commented. Sources close to them assert that there's no case against them.
AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi referred to a recent court ruling that there's nothing wrong in party functionaries meeting Ms Sasikala. Asked about the allegation that the ministers took orders from a convict, she replied: "They did not meet for government decisions."
Ms Sasikala is confronting another controversy for allegedly enjoying privileges in jail including a private kitchen. A jail officer who highlighted the violations in a report last month said there were allegations that she paid Rs 2 crore for special treatment. The officer has since been transferred.