Sasikala returns to Tamil Nadu to grand welcome by supporters

Sasikala returns to Tamil Nadu to grand welcome by supporters

After four years, former AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala returned to Tamil Nadu on Monday to a grand welcome by supporters. --File photo IANS

Chennai, Feb 8 (IANS) After four years, former AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala returned to Tamil Nadu on Monday to a grand welcome by supporters, with her arrival leaving the ruling party in jitters ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections. Sasikala, who left from Bengaluru in the morning, was greeted by large number of people at several places en route with firecrackers, garlands, showers of petals and drumbeats. Her convoy comprising buses, vans and cars was heading for Chennai after brief halt at various points and amid tension at few places as the police tried to restrict the number of vehicles. A close aide of J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala left from a resort on Bengaluru outskirts after paying tributes to portrait of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Sasikala was released from jail on January 27 on completing four-year jail term in a Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case. Wearing a face mask, she was accompanied by her nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) General Secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran. Unfazed by the police complaint lodged against her by AIADMK for using the party flag a few days ago, Sasikala's vehicle carried the flag. After Sasikala used an AIADMK flag on her car after her discharge from a hospital in Bengaluru last week, the AIADMK had lodged a complaint with the police in Chennai. The ruling party leaders urged the DGP to stop her from using the party flag. However, Dhinakaran defended the use of AIADMK flag saying she is still the General Secretary of the party. He pointed out that petitions challenging her expulsion from the party are pending in court. People in the convoy and those welcoming Sasikala were seen carrying flags of both the AIADMK and the AMMK. Policemen were deployed in large numbers at Hosur on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. The police removed posters and flexis put up by Sasikala's supporters at few places. Clad in a green colour saree, 'Chinnamma' as Sasikala is fondly called was sitting in car. She was seen responding to the greetings of the supporters with folded hands. She will stay at her niece J. Krishnapriya's residence in Chennai's T. Nagar area. Krishnapriya is the daughter of J. Ilavarasi, Sasikala`s sister-in-law, who was also sentenced in the disproportionate assets case. Sasikala was released from prison on January 27. She, however, remained at the Government Victoria Hospital, where she was admitted after testing positive for Covid-19 while under judicial custody. After her discharge from hospital on January 31, she was staying in the resort to complete her quarantine period. Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son V.N. Sudhakaran were sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case in 2017. The case was originally filed against Jayalalithaa and the three others for amassment of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income between 1991 and 1996. The trial court in Bengaluru had convicted all the four but the Karnataka High Court later acquitted them. On appeals challenging their acquittals, the Supreme Court confirmed and restored the trial court order convicting Sasikala, Illavarasi and Sudhakaran. Since Jayalalithaa died in December, 2016, the apex court abated appeals against her acquittal.

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