The Supreme Court has dealt a huge blow today to the political aspirations of AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala by convicting her in a disproportionate assets case.
The apex court has upheld the verdict of the trial court and sentenced her to 4-year jail term along with a fine of Rs 10 crore. A bench of justices PC Ghose and AK Roy announced the verdict at 10.30 am in the 21-year-old corruption case in which former chief minister J Jayalalithaa is also an accused.
The outcome in the case has ended Sasikala's chances of bagging the job of Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She has been locked in a bitter turf war with acting chief minister O Panneerselvam over the control of the party and the state government after J Jayalalithaa's death.
Sasikala claimed the support of at least 134 MLAs but over the past few days several MPs and other party leaders have pledged support to Panneerselvam, who made a dramatic volte-face last week to claim that he was forced to resign as chief minister by a section of party legislators.
In Chennai, epicentre of the political tremors, Sasikala and Panneerselvam continued to trade charges on Monday. Panneerselvam appeared calm as he made brief speeches to his supporters at his residence and also attended office during the day.
Sasikala, on the other hand, was all aggression as she took on Panneerselvam. "OPS is a traitor…But I can handle 1000s of Panneerselvams," Sasikala told supporters people outside her Poes Garden residence.
Tuesday's judgment has set the direction of the Tamil Nadu politics for days to come.
After the judgement, Sasikala stands barred from contesting polls for six years. She will be ineligible to be the chief minister as the Constitution mandates election to the assembly within six months of assuming office.