New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a trial court order and found AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala guilty in an over 20-year-old disproportionate assets case and sentenced her to four years of imprisonment. The court also directed Sasikala to surrender immediately. The AIADMK general secretary has already served almost six months in jail.
The ruling bars Sasikala from becoming the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu as she can’t contest election for 10 years. It clears the deck for the incumbent O. Panneerselvam to be in power.
The trial court had sentenced Sasikala and her two relatives to four years imprisonment with a fine of Rs10 crore each. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years with a fine of Rs100 crore.
Here are live updates of the ongoing power struggle between Sasikala and CM O. Panneerselvam in Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK:
■ Governor Ch Vidayasagar Rao meets newly elected AIADMK Legislature Party leader Edappadi K Palaniswami and others at 5.40pm: Raj Bhavan. (PTI) The meeting lasted about 10 mins, reported CNN-News 18.
■ Sasikala’s legal team attempted to buy time by filing a petition before the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking four weeks’ time to surrender on “health grounds”, reported Firstpost.
■ Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday alleged that two Union ministers had engineered the revolt within AIADMK by caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam. (CNN-News18)
■ Prohibitory orders were imposed in Kuvathur, where AIADMK MLAs loyal to V K Sasikala are holed up, even as police halted state Minister K Pandiarajan en route to his visit there. Kancheepuram district administration had imposed the orders at Kuvathur, official sources said without elaborating.
■ Whoever takes over the reins of AIADMK should not be a puppet of Sasikala: Deepa Jayakumar, niece of the late Jayalalithaa. (CNN-News18)
■ Police stopped Paneerselvam’s supporters while they were on the way to Golden Bay resort, where AIADMK MLAs are staying. They were barred to enter the resort to avoid any clash. (CNN-News18)
■ BJP’s general secretary and Tamil Nadu in-charge P. Muralidhar Rao: “Sasikala has the advantage of being at the top of the party but she does not have the advantage that Jayalalithaa had, which was having people’s endorsement. That is a very important factor. By appointing a proxy you can never win people’s trust, which is essential. The Governor (Ch Vidyasagar Rao) has to take a call in the context of the Supreme Court’s verdict. It has become a new factor. He cannot go by mere numbers. He has to go by both numbers and credibility. “He has to judge as to who is more viable and capable of giving a stable government,” he told
■ Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar welcomed the decision of Supreme Court on DA case against VK Sasikala. (CNN-News18)
■ Representatives from Panneerselvam camp are likely to visit the resort where party MLAs loyal to Sasikala are put up, in an apparent bid to garner support for the chief minister. Sources in the Panneerselvam camp said the delegation of MLAs and senior leaders could include School Education Minister K Pandiarajan and that they were planning to meet their colleagues put up at the resort in Koovathur, about 80 kms from Chennai. Security has already been tightened at the resort with more police personnel being deployed.
■ Nobody has the authority to elect anybody: Panneerselvam camp on election of Palaniswami as AIADMK Legislature Party leader.
■ Sasikala expels scores of “rebels” including minister K. Pandiarajan and senior leader C. Ponnaiyan.
■ Deepa Peravai, a forum floated by supporters of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar, burst crackers and distributed sweets here after conviction of Sasikala in the disproportionate assets case by the Supreme court.
■ Leaders and MLAs from Panneerselvam camp planning to visit Koovathur resort to meet party legislators staying there.
The resort in Koovathur at East Coast Road where various AIADMK MLAs are camping to decide on the further course of action in forming new government, near Chennai . Photo:
■ We have sent a letter staking claim to form “Amma’s government”, says the newly elected AIADMK legislature party leader Edappadi K Palaniswami.
■ O. Panneerselvam expelled from AIADMK: Jaya TV. Meanwhile, CM Panneerselvam urges AIADMK MLAs to sink differences, work together to keep party united and continue ‘Amma’s rule’
■ P Chidambaram: “If there is only one claimant, the Governor can swear-in the claimant and ask him to prove his majority. If there are two claimants, the Governor should call a composite vote,” the senior Congress leader said citing the case of Uttar Pradesh.
He said Tamil Nadu governor should follow the UP precedent and call for a composite vote in the Assembly if there are two claimants.
■ Sasikala loyalist state minister Edappady K. Palaniswamy elected as the new AIADMK Legislature Party Leader: Jaya TV. (PTI)
■ Sasikala holds emergency meeting of MLAs at Koovathur resort to elect a legislature party leader. (PTI) Jayalalitha’s nephew Deepak Jayakumar also in meeting with Sasikala in the resort, reported CNN-News18.
■ AIADMK MLA O. K. Chinnaraj extends support to Panneerselvam: Minister K. Pandiarajan.
■ M.K. Stalin: Justice finally prevailed after 21-years. We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court. (CNN-News18)
■ Soli Sorabjee: There is no split verdict by the Supreme Court. She can’t possibly be the CM. She will have to serve the sentence. (CNN-News18)
■ Subramanyam Swamy: “There is just an option of review petition which is just a formality. There is no option. AIADMK will now have to choose their leader and it will be the chief minister. Now the governor shouldn’t be taking any longer or else it will be another case.” (CNN-News18)
■ Security has been increased across Tamil Nadu. Additional police forces were sent to Poes Garden, Golden Bay Resorts and O. Panneerselvam residence in Chennai. (CNN-News18)
■ Minutes after the Supreme Court convicted V.K. Sasikala, the AIADMK today threw its weight behind the party general secretary, saying she has always carried the “burden” of Jayalalithaa. “Whenever there had been burden for Amma (Jayalalithaa) she (Sasikala) had taken it on her. She is doing the same now also. #Chinnamma,” the party’s official Twitter handle, @AIADMKOfficial said.
■ Sasikala to surrender herself forthwith. All the convicted persons have to serve the remaining part of the sentence. The verdict disqualifies Sasikala from becoming a legislator, and consequentially she can’t be chief minister either. (PTI)
■ The Supreme Court, however, abates the appeal proceedings against former CM J. Jayalalithaa owing to her death on 5 December last year. (PTI)
■ Supreme Court quashes Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan in the disproportionate assets case. She will have to surrender herself to jail for undergoing remaining jail term. SC restores in toto the conviction and sentence awarded by the trial court in Bengaluru to all the accused. (PTI)
■ AIADMK’s veteran legislator from Mettur constituency, Semmalai joins CM Panneerselvam’s camp, reported PTI. Semmalai, the MLA from Mettur and a former Minister, arrived at the CM’s Greenways Road residence and extended his support to Panneerselvam, sources in his camp said. With the arrival of Semmalai, the number of MLAs in the Panneerselvam camp rose to nine, including the chief minister. (PTI)
■ Addressing the media outside Poes Garden in Chennai, Sasikala on Monday said that her party will rule Tamil Nadu for next four years despite attempts by rebel chief minister O. Panneerselvam to split it.
■ Earlier, both Sasikala and Panneerselvam wished Tamil Nadu governor C. Vidyasagar Rao (additional charge) on his birthday on Monday morning. Meanwhile, Panneerselvam is back at work at the chief minister’s office after a one-week gap.
■ Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi gave opinion to Tamil Nadu governor Rao on Monday advising him to hold the floor test within a week, citing Supreme Court judgment.
■ The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) held a strategy meet on Monday under the leadership of party working president M.K. Stalin at the party headquarters.
■ Sasikala visited the Golden Bay resort where MLAs loyal to her are staying for the third straight day on Monday, reported CNN-News18. It was her third meeting with her MLAs in three days.
■ The DMK held a crucial high-level executive committee meeting on Monday evening at its party headquarters in Chennai amid the unfolding political drama within the rival AIADMK. It is by default a favourable situation for the DMK, which has 89 seats in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly. Last week, M.K. Stalin, the DMK working president and leader of the Opposition,said, “We will react to the issue democratically. We lost the assembly election by just 1.1% vote share.”
■ Advocate M.L. Sharma has filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Monday asking the governor to invite Sasikala to form government within the next 24 hours, reported NDTV. The other PIL, against Sasikala, has been listed for hearing on 17 February.
■ After a week of hectic events, political developments in Tamil Nadu looked slowing down a touch on Sunday with a trickle of legislators switching sides from Sasikala to O. Panneerselvam, even as the governor refrained from calling either to prove their support for the job of chief minister.
■ Panneerselvam’s side gained strength on Sunday with six more members of parliament extending their support, taking the tally to 11 MPs and with seven MLAs including state education minister K. Pandiarajan (and Panneerselvam), who had called the chief minister an “opportunist” just days ago. The party has 135 MLAs in the 235-member Tamil Nadu assembly.
■ Sasikala met the MLAs at the resort near Mahabalipuram on Sunday. She said it was “very difficult” for a woman to be in politics, which she had seen in the time of Jayalalithaa too, and asserted that the MLAs were with her.
■ On Saturday, police and revenue officers held an inquiry at the resort after Panneerselvam complained to governor Vidyasagar Rao that the MLAs had been “abducted” by the Sasikala camp on Wednesday after a party meeting.
■ Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has no role to play in the political situation of Tamil Nadu. “The BJP has no role to play in Tamil Nadu political situation. The BJP do not have a member in the legislative assembly. Where is the question of BJP doing anything (there)? We are not part of the government formation where we do not have representation in Assembly,” Venkaiah told reporters in Hyderabad.
■ Panneerselvam on Friday said the “dream of those to capture power” will end as a “daydream” and asserted that the AIADMK cadre would not allow the party to go into the hands of “a family”.
■ Sasikala on Friday sacked party presidium chairman E. Madusudanan from the primary membership, a day after he switched over to the rebel camp led by chief minister O.Panneerselvam.