The 18 year long corruption case against former CM of TN (Tamil Nadu), J. Jayalalitha, reached its conclusion when a special court in Bangalore presided by Special Judge John D’Cunha convicted her under the Prevention of Corruption Act. She was sentenced to four years imprisonment and levied a fine of Rs. 100 cr. The charge against her was of holding assets of Rs. 66.65 cr that were disproportionate to her known sources of income. This verdict marks the first ever conviction of a serving Chief Minister.
Two aides of Jayalalitha and her now disowned foster son were also convicted in this case.
After the sentence, Jayalalitha was taken to the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bangalore. Since she was sentenced to a period of more than three years, she will have to approach the HC of Karnataka for bail. She is also expected to file an appeal challenging the order of conviction. As of now, she stands disqualified as an MLA in accordance with the Representation of People’s Act, which also prohibits her from contesting elections for a period of six years after she finishes serving the sentence. However, if the order of conviction is stayed or overruled by a higher court, the disqualification will be annulled.
This is not the first instance of Jayalalitha having to step down as CM. In 2001, she had to step down temporarily till a higher court overturned the decision which sentenced her to two years rigorous imprisonment on a land deal case.
It has been decided that O.Paneerselvam, who was the Finance Minister of TN, will take Jayalalitha’s place as CM, following a meeting of the party’s MLAs. Mr. Paneerselvam had also served as CM for a period of six months in 2001 after Jayalalitha had resigned.
After the verdict was announced, incidents of violence were witnessed in various parts of Tamil Nadu. AIADMK supporters burnt effigies of leaders of opposing parties and went on a rampage destroying public properties. Shops were shut down and instances of buses being broken or burnt were also reported.