Prisoner number 3295: Day after SC verdict, Sasikala back in Bengaluru jail
AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala on Wednesday returned to Bengaluru central jail after she surrendered before a court, a day after the Supreme Court restored her conviction in the disproportionate assets case and ordered her to serve the remainder of her four-year prison term immediately.
Sasikala, a long-time aide of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, went straight to the court housed in the central jail at Parappana Agrahara, 28 km from Hosur on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
She turned up before Special Court Judge Ashwathnarayana after the apex court earlier in the day refused to entertain her plea in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case seeking more time to surrender for undergoing the jail term.
She was sent to a women's cell in the Central Jail and was allotted prisoner number 3295 while her sister-in-law J Elavarasi, nephew VN Sudhakaran were given numbers 3296 and 3297 respectively.
Sasikala was imprisoned after completion of court formalities and medical check up, officials said. The judge also turned down her pleas for two weeks more time to surrender and for home food.
Officials said that they will be given a plate, a tumbler, and blanket and a list of jobs they would be interested in. As they have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment, they will have to work inside the prison to earn their livelihood and they can collect their earnings after their release.
Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi had spent three weeks in Parappana Agrahara jail after they were convicted by the trial court in the Rs 66 crore DA case in September 2014 before they were let out on bail by the Supreme Court.
Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, whose conviction by the trial court in Bengaluru had been upheld by the Supreme Court, also surrendered before the court. The court abated the proceedings against Jayalalithaa on account of her death.
Earlier, Sasikala left Chennai for Bengaluru in the neighbouring state of Karnataka by road and went straight to the court housed in the central jail at Parappana Agrahara, 28 km from Hosur on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
The court hall in Bengaluru where Sasikala surrendered was shifted from the heart of the city to the central jail owing to security reasons.
Four cars in the cavalcade of Sasikala were damaged soon after it arrived near the court premises, police said, adding, it was not immediately known who did it.
Clashes also erupted between AIADMK supporters and police personnel.
Before she left for Bengaluru, an emotional Sasikala appeared to take a vow at the memorial of Jayalalithaa in Chennai, thumping her hand twice at the petals strewn concrete structure.
Sasikala was seen muttering something which was not audible amidst the huge noisy crowd that had converged there.
"Only I can be jailed, not the care or concern I have for this party. Wherever I will be, my thoughts will be here," Sasikala had told both her MLAs at Koovathur resort as well as to her supporters later at Poes Garden late last night.
She said she would be thinking about the party round the clock and that "no force can wean away" the party from her.
The Apex Court had earlier in the day refused to entertain her plea, seeking more time to surrender to undergo jail term in the DA case.
"We do not intend to pass any order on this. We are not going to change anything in the judgement," a bench headed by Justice P C Ghose said. The bench had yesterday convicted her and two others in the DA case.
During the brief hearing today, the bench said that the word "immediately" has been used in the judgement with regard to the surrender of the convict.
Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, appearing for Sasikala, said that the leader wanted some time to surrender as she has to manage her affairs.
He was seeking urgent hearing of the application today itself.
"I hope you (Tulsi) understand the meaning of the word 'immediately'," Justice Ghose said.
The bench instead of listing the plea, made clear to the lawyer that it would not consider the plea.
Before leaving the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, where Sasikala continued to stay after the former's demise last December, she was greeted by slogan-shouting supporters who hailed their 'Chinnamma' (next after Jayalalithaa who was addressed as Amma, meaning mother).
At the Jayalalithaa memorial, Sasikala made her way through the crowd of supporters that included a sobbing former Minister Gokula Indira and Deputy General Secretary and her nephew T T V Dinakaran, and put up a brave face.
She was seen with folded hands before making an emphatic vow. She also paid floral tributes at the memorial before going around it ahead of her onward journey.
Sasikala also visited the Ramapuram residence of AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran and briefly meditated before his portrait inside the house.
She also paid homage to a life size statue of the former matinee idol at the residence, which she had unveiled recently. Some women there also peformed 'aarti' for Sasikala.
(With PTI inputs)