VK Sasikala, a former aide of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was released from Parapana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru on Wednesday morning after completing four years of imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case.
However, Sasikala who has been an important part of Tamil Nadu politics for over three decades, functioning as the woman ‘next in power’ after the late Jayalalithaa, will remain in the hospital as she is being treated for the COVID-19 infection.
Independent MLA T T V Dhinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew and founder of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) had on Monday said a decision on the discharge of his aunt from the hospital would be taken after consulting the doctors.
Hundreds of followers of Sasikala and former chief minister Jayalalithaa gathered in front of Victoria Hospital and celebrated her release.
She was sentenced to four years imprisonment in February 2017 in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case along with her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi and and Jayalalithaa’s foster son V N Sudhakaran.
Sasikala’s release comes at a time when Tamil Nadu is preparing for assembly elections in which her former party AIADMK takes on the DMK.
Though Dhinakaran maintains that his aunt would plunge into active politics immediately after her release, there is little clarity on what Sasikala would do.
In a meeting held on 29 December 2016 – the first meeting after Jayalalithaa’s death on 5 December 2016 – the AIADMK general council appointed Sasikala as the party’s general secretary.
On 5 February 2017, Sasikala was unanimously elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader by a meeting of all the MLAs in the party. The Governor delayed announcing VK Sasikala as the new Chief Minister, waiting for the verdict of the disproportionate assets case on her. On February 14, 2017, VK Sasikala was convicted and sentenced to 4 years sentence in Bangalore Parapana Jail and gave her 24 hours to surrender. The governor, then rejected her claims to become Chief Minister. VK Sasikala then convened the party’s MLA council in her capacity as the General Secretary. There, Edpappadi K. Palaniasamy was unanimously elected as the new Chief Minister and he was sworn in the next day.
On August 21, 2017, Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK and removed from her post of General Secretary.
The expulsion of Sasikala and her family led to the new party Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazagam. T. T. V. Dhinakaran was appointed as the general secretary and Sasikala became the president of Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazagam.