New Delhi, Feb 14:
In a major setback for AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, who was aspiring to be the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, the Supreme Court on Tuesday restored her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
Restoring the judgment of the trial court convicting and sentencing her and her two relatives – V.N. Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, a bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy set aside a Karnataka High Court order acquitting the three and late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The immediate fallout of the top court verdict is that Sasikala is out of the electoral field for 10 years – four years when would be in incarceration and six years of disqualification under the Representation of Peoples Act after her release.
Restoring the trial court judgment “in full, including consequent directions”, Justice Ghose said that Sasikala and two others would surrender to the trial court, which will take immediate steps for them to serve their remaining sentence.
The court directed the three to “immediately” surrender before the trial court.
The trial court had sentenced Sasikala to four years of jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore.
The trial court verdict convicting late Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others had come on September 27, 2014.
Justice Roy, in a concurring judgment, expressed deep concern over the “escalating menace of corruption in society”.
The top court verdict has come on an appeal of the Karnataka government that had challenged the May 11, 2015, state High Court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and the two in a disproportionate assets case.
The four were convicted by the trial court for amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during her first term as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996.