Sasikala seeks better facilities in jail

Bengaluru, Feb 22 (IANS) AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala has come to terms with prison life but hopes to get better facilities in view of her age and weak health, a party leader said on Wednesday.

“Chinamma (Sasikala) is fine though weak. Her sugar level and BP (blood pressure) are normal. She is adjusting to the prison life. She has applied for better facilities. We hope she gets them,” the AIADMK’s Karnataka unit Secretary V. Pugazhendi told IANS.

The 59-year-old returned to the Central Jail on the city’s southern outskirts a week ago to serve a four-year sentence upheld by the Supreme Court after she was held guilty of corruption in a two-decade-old wealth case.

A trial court had first held her guilty in September 2014 in Bengaluru.

“Does she have a choice but serve the jail term as ordered by the Supreme Court?” asked Pugazhendi.

“As Sasikala had spent three weeks along with Amma (J. Jayalalithaa) in the same jail over two years ago (September-October 2014), she is familiar with the harsh conditions in the women’s cell,” she added.

Sasikala and her co-convict sister-in-law Elavarasi and nephew V.K. Sudhakaran returned to the jail after the Supreme Court refused to give her more time.

“We are hoping the authorities will consider her request for better amenities like a cot, mattress, table fan and attached bathroom so that she can take care of her health till she gets transferred to the Central Jail in Chennai,” said Pugazhendi.

Admitting that there was legal provision for a convict to seek transfer to another jail, Karnataka Director General of Prisons H.L. Satyanarayana Rao told IANS that the jail superintendent could consider such a request on health or humanitarian grounds.

“We can consider at our discretion if a request is made by the convict and the application is within the process of law,” Rao said.

Asked about Sasikala’s first week in prison, Rao said there was no change in the rules for her and she was being treated like other women inmates as per the jail manual.

“No special treatment or privileges are given to Sasikala or Elavarasi. They both are in adjacent cells. Relatives or guests are allowed to meet only twice a week between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” Rao said.

Pugazhendi said Sasikala would apply for transfer to the Central Jail in Chennai after discussing the issue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E.P. Palaniswami and her lawyers early next week.

“Palaniswami and three cabinet ministers are likely to meet Chinamma next week. Her lawyers are also expected to come from Chennai with them,” added Pugazhendi.