Supreme Court judgment has ended VK Sasikala's bid to become the Tamil Nadu chief minister.
New Delhi: AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala has been ordered to serve a four-year jail term in a 21-year-old disproportionate assets case by the Supreme Court, ending her wait for an invitation from Tamil Nadu's Raj Bhavan to take over as the chief minister. She will, instead, go to jail. The court did not rule on charges against former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who was accused of holding assets disproportionate to her known income in the early nineties, as she died in December. In its verdict, that could help chief minister O Panneerselvam retain his chair, the top court set aside the Karnataka High Court's 2015 judgment which gave Jayalalithaa and Sasikala a clean chit.
Here are the five developments in this big story:
The Supreme Court set aside the judgement and the order of the High Court and "affirm in to the judgement and order the trial court convicting the accused persons". Apart from the jail term, the trial court had imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on Jayalalithaa and Rs 10 crore each on her long-time live-in aide, VK Sasikala and her two relatives, Ilavarasi and VN Sudhagaran.
Constitutional expert PP Rao called the top court's verdict a setback to Ms Sasikala who will not be able to contest elections for six years after serving her four-year jail term. Therefore, for 10 years, virtually, her political career is completely obliterated, he told NDTV.
Ms Sasikala has nominated Edappadi K Palanisamy to lead the party, and the government instead of Mr Panneerselvam for the chief minister's post. But Palanisamy too will have to clear the floor test in the assembly if he does give an invite..
Mr Rao said Governor C Vidyasagar Rao should convene a session of the Tamil Nadu assembly where - whoever wants to contest for the chief minister's post should throw in their hat - and get the assembly's support.
Support is already growing for Mr Panneerselvam among AIADMK legislators. Mylapore legislator R Natraj, who was perceived to have been neutral during the Sasikala-Panneerselvam tussle all these days - conceded that people in his constituency wanted Mr Panneerselvam to continue. The next step for the AIADMK, he said, was to convene a meeting of the party legislators, quite like the one that had named Ms Sasikala as leader of the party's legislative party leader.