After SC rebuff Sasikala surrenders in Bengaluru

After a day of high drama in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK interim general secretary V.K.Sasikala, convicted by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case on Tuesday, surrendered at a special court, a few hundred metres from Bengaluru Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara, and became prisoner no. 9234. Before leaving for Bengaluru by road on Wednesday, Ms. Sasikala stopped by at the memorial to Jayalalithaa on the Marina in Chennai and dramatically slapped the memorial’s slab thrice as if taking a vow.

After this, she headed out to former Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran’s house in Ramavaram and paid floral tributes to his portrait and his statue. She also spent a few minutes sitting on the floor of the house in front of the portrait. Earlier in the day, after the Supreme Court turned down her petition to give her two weeks’ time to surrender, Ms. Sasikala called in priests to Jayalalithaa’s Veda Nilayam in Poes Garden, and performed special pujas. After these rituals, family members reportedly entered the house, followed by former Ministers and a few sitting MPs to meet her.

Outside the residence, AIADMK supporters raised slogans against Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao, claiming they were irked by the delay in inviting the leader of the AIADMK’s legislature party Edappadi Palaniswami to form the government. They also raised slogans against Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam, as they have been doing frequently this past week, interspersed with cries of “Chinnamma” referring to Ms. Sasikala. Around 11.45 a.m., the iron gates of Veda Nilayam were thrown open, and a car drove out with Ms. Sasikala and her relative J.Elavarasi, also convicted in the disproportionate assets case.

Finally, at 5.13 p.m., minutes before the court administrative hours came to a close, Ms. Sasikala reached Parappana Agrahara Road in Bengaluru. Soon after Ms. Sasikala’s convoy neared the prison premises, a clash broke out between mediapersons and the group that came with her convoy. In the morning, Justice P.C. Ghose told her lawyer: “We will not change a word of that order. We do not intend to pass any further orders after directing her to surrender immediately… Hope you understand the meaning of the word ‘immediately’?”

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According to a senior police official, Ms. Sasikala and Ms. Elavarasi would be made to stay in the general women’s cell as there is no special provision for them. However, considering her background, a team of women prison staff have been deputed at the prison cell to monitor any eventualities. They were given a plate, a tumbler, and blanket and a list of jobs they would be interested in. They will have to work to earn their livelihood inside the prison during their stay, and they can collect their earnings after their release, officials added.

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