Timeline of legal hurdle made Sasikala lose Chief Ministership
New Delhi, Feb. 14: The Supreme Court on Tuesday convicted All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) VK Sasikala in connection with the disproportionate assets case. According to legal experts, Sasikala cannot aspire to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu now.
Senior advocate Ashwani Kumar said, “I don’t think Sasikala can aspire to become the chief minister after the conviction order pronounced by the highest court of the country. This order is not subject to appeal as it is the final order. Sasikala cannot be a sworn in as chief minister.”
Advocate Ashwani Kumar further said the impact of this verdict will be seen on the AIADMK politics.
“The primary need is to make the government in Tamil Nadu. Majority floor test is the only way to see who will be the chief minister,” he added.
B.V. Acharya, special public prosecutor in the case against Sasikala, has expressed his happiness after the apex court upheld the trial court’s judgment convicting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case.
“I can only say that justice has been done in this case and it shows that in our country judiciary is independent and powerful. Therefore, even an accused who is very powerful both in terms of money and power cannot escape the clutches of law. Sasikala cannot hold an elective post for next 10 years because four years in imprisonment and thereafter the disqualification continues for another six years,” he said.
Constitutional expert P.P. Rao said, “Sasikala cannot contest for six years after her four-year sentence. So for 10 years, her political career is obliterated.”
“For ten years, she should forget any political opportunity or political office as she cannot contest now during the term of her imprisonment and also for six years further there is disqualification because of conviction of corruption. So, for 10 years she cannot aspire to be the candidate of the chief minister. If she has got her following and who want to support her through them, she can be active in politics but not directly but indirectly,” he added.
Earlier, setting aside on earlier Karnataka High Court order, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court convicted All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) general secretary V.K. Sasikala in connection with a 19-year old disproportionate assets case. She has been ordered to surrender to the law enforcement authorities immediately to serve the remainder of her four-year jail term.
She also will not be able to contest elections for 10 years or hold public office.
The verdict comes in the backdrop of the ongoing power struggle within the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu – between Sasikala and the incumbent Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
The disproportionate assets case that posed a legal hurdle against Sasikala’s taking over as the chief minister, dates back to 1996. Late J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her two relatives, Ilavarasi and Sudhagaran, were convicted in the case that alleged that the former chief minister owned assets far exceeding her known sources of income. (ANI)
Timeline of DA case
1996: Subramanian Swamy, then Janata Party chief, files a case against Jayalalithaa alleging that during her tenure as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996, she amassed properties worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income.
7 December 1996: Jayalalithaa arrested. Many allegations follow, including accumulation of disproportionate assets.
1997: Prosecution launched in sessions court in Chennai against Jayalalithaa and three others for having assets ‘disproportionate’ to their known income.
4 June 1997: They are charge-sheeted for offences under sections 120-B IPC, 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
1 October 1997: Madras High Court dismisses three petitions by Jayalalithaa including one challenging the sanction granted by then Governor M Fathima Beevi for prosecuting her.
Trial progresses. By August 2000, 250 prosecution witnesses examined and only 10 more remained.
In the May 2001 Assembly elections, AIADMK secures absolute majority and Jayalalithaa becomes the chief minister. Her appointment is challenged due to her conviction in October, 2000 in the Tansi (Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation) case. The Supreme Court nullifies the appointment.
21 September 2001: Jayalalithaa ceases to be the chief minister.
After her conviction is set aside, Jayalalithaa is elected to the Assembly in a bypoll from Andipatti constituency on 21 February 2002, and again sworn in as CM.
2003: DMK general secretary K Anbazhagan approaches SC for transferring the trial to Karnataka on the ground that a fair trial was not possible in Tamil Nadu with Jayalalithaa as chief minister.
18 November 2003: SC transfers the case to Bengaluru.
19 February 2005: The Karnataka government appoints BV Acharya, a former Advocate General, as Special Public Prosecutor to conduct the prosecution.
October/November 2011: Jayalalithaa deposes in the Special Court and answers 1,339 questions.
12 August 2012: Acharya expresses his inability to continue as SPP. Karnataka government accepts his resignation in January, 2013 and discharges him from the case.
2 February 2013: Karnataka government appoints G Bhavani Singh as SPP.
26 August 2013: Karnataka government issues a notification withdrawing the appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP without assigning any reason and without consulting the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.
30 September 2013: SC quashes the notification withdrawing appointment of Bhavani Singh as SPP.
12 December 2013: Special Court allows plea by DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan and directs physical production of valuables and other assets seized from Jayalalithaa in 1997 and deposited in an RBI treasury in Chennai.
28 February 2014: Special Court dismisses plea by SPP seeking a direction to produce before it the seized silver articles belonging to her. Judge says SPP had filed it only with the purpose of delaying the proceedings.
14/15 March 2014: Special Court imposes a cost of one-day salary on SPP Bhavani Singh for not resuming final arguments citing ill-health.
18 March 2014: Singh moves Karnataka HC challenging the special court order imposing cost.
21 March 2014: HC rejects his petition saying the order of the special court imposing cost was right.
28 August 2014: Special Court reserves judgement for 20 September and directs all the four accused, including Jayalalithaa, to appear before it on that date.
16 September 2014: Special Court defers by a week the pronouncement of its verdict to 27 September .
27 September 2014: Special Court convicts Jayalalithaa and three others including aide Sasikala. Awards four years’ prison term to Jayalalithaa, slaps Rs 100 crore fine.
29 September 2014: Jayalalithaa moves Karnataka HC challenging conviction, seeks bail.
7 October 2014: High Court denies bail, citing ‘no grounds,’ to do so.
9 October 2014: Jayalalithaa moves SC seeking bail.
17 October 2014: SC grants bail to Jayalalithaa.
18 October 2014: After 21 days in prison, Jayalalithaa released from prison on bail. SC says it will ask Karnataka High Court to complete hearing on appeal in three months.
18 December 2014: SC extends Jayalalithaa’s bail by four months. A bench headed by CJI HL Dattu orders that her appeal challenging conviction in Karnataka HC be conducted on a day-to-day basis by a Special Bench.
26 February 2015: DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan moves SC seeking stay of the case against Jayalalithaa questioning impartiality of SPP Bhawani Singh.
9 March 2015: SC issues notice to Jayalalithaa and others on plea by Anbazhagan seeking removal of prosecutor.
11 March 2015: Karnataka HC reserves order on appeal by Jayalalithaa and three others including confidante Sasikala in disproportionate assets (DA) case.
1 April 2015: Jaya defends Singh’s continuance.
15 April 2015: SC gives split verdict on plea seeking removal of Bhawani Singh in Jayalalithaa’s DA case before Karnataka HC, refers the matter to a larger bench.
27 April 2015: SC rejects Bhawani Singh’s appointment as “bad in law”, says case does not warrant de novo (fresh) hearing of appeals. Allows Anbazhagan and Karnataka to file written submissions in HC.
27 April 2015: Anbazhagan files written submission with Karnataka HC seeking confirming of Jayalalithaa’s sentence.
28 April 2015: B V Acharya appointed new SPP, files written submission before Karnataka HC praying for dismissal of Jayalalithaa’s appeal.
8 May 2015: Karnataka High Court notification says Special Vacation Bench of Justice CR Kumaraswamy will pronounce verdict on Jayalalithaa’s appeal on 11 May 2015.
11 May 2015: Karnataka HC acquits Jayalalithaa and three others.
23 June 2015: Karnataka Govt moves SC against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in DA case.
27 July 2015: SC issues notice to Jayalalithaa on appeal challenging her acquittal.
23 February 2016: SC commences final hearing on the appeals against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal.
7 June 2016: SC reserves verdict on appeals in DA case against Jayalalithaa.
5 December 2016: Jayalalithaa dies after prolonged illness in Chennai.
14 February 2017: SC convicts Sasikala and her two relatives, VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi by restoring the trial court verdict in toto directing them to serve the remaining jail term.