On Monday, V K Sasikala, the expelled AIADMK leader returned to Tamil Nadu to a warm welcome. She was greeted by her followers with the showering of flower petals and her followers dancing to drum beats as Sasikala entered into Tamil Nadu at Athipalli in Krishnagiri district bordering Karnataka.
‘Chinnamma’, as she is fondly called by her followers, was greeted by a large gathering of people who waved both the AIADMK and AMMK flags as she crossed into Tamil Nadu at Athipallai border.
Sasikala is returning to her home state after serving a four-year jail term in Bengaluru. She was convicted in a Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.
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A festive atmosphere gripped the towns in the border district of Krishnagiri in western Tamil Nadu with banners, flex boards, posters and hoardings welcoming Sasikala.
The assets case was originally filed against Jayalalithaa and the three others for amassment of Rs 66.65 crore assets disproportionate to their known sources of income between 1991 and 1996. The case was later transferred to Bengaluru.
Sasikala, a close aide of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa long with J Ilavarasi and VN Sudhakaran, Jayalalithaa’s disowned foster son were sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Supreme Court for the case.
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They were all acquitted by the Bengaluru Trial Court but were later acquitted by the Karnataka High Court.
Sasikala is returning to Tamil Nadu right when the assembly elections are around the corner and is thus being eagerly watched by spectators.
Sasikala was in Parapana Agrahara central prison since February 2017 and was finally released on January 27, 2021. However, she was later tested positive for COVID-19 while she was in judicial custody. She was then admitted into Government Victoria Hospital.
Following her discharge from the hospital, Sasikala was staying at a resort, 35 km away from Bengaluru.
She left the resort in a convoy of around 200 vehicles as her supporters raised slogans hailing her, accompanied by her nephew and general secretary of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam T T V Dhinakaran. Before leaving, Sasikala, wearing a face mask, offered floral tributes to a portrait of Jayalalithaa.
Clad in a green colour saree, the favourite hue of Jayalalithaa, she travelled in a car that sported the AIADMK flag over the bonnet, disregarding the warning by the ruling party in Tamil Nadu against its use by non-members.
A petition was filled by AIADMK to the Tamil Nadu police asking to restrain ‘non-members’ of the party from using its flag. This followed after Sasikala was seen travelling in her car and sporting the flag on her discharge from a hospital in Bengaluru on January 31. Defending this, Dhinakaran later said she continues to remain the AIADMK general secretary, pointing to petitions pending in court over her ‘expulsion’.
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The Supreme Court, allowing appeals challenging their acquittals, confirmed and restored the trial court order convicting Sasikala, Illavarasi and Sudhakaran, while abating appeals related to Jayalalithaa in view of her death in December 2016.