POLITICS

After SC Refuses More Time, Sasikala Visits Jayalalithaa's Memorial Before Going To Jail

"Only I can be jailed, not the care or concern I have for this party."

15/02/2017 1:54 PM IST | Updated 15/02/2017 5:10 PM IST
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All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader VK Sasikala pays her respects at the memorial for former state chief minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram before leaving to surrender to authorities, following a Supreme Court ruling, in Chennai on Febuary 15, 2017. India's Supreme Court jailed the annointed next leader of Tamil Nadu for four years for corruption on February 14, heightening the turmoil in a state still reeling from the death of its long-time matriarch. VK Sasikala was told to surrender immediately to prison authorities after judges overturned her acquittal in a long-running 'disproportionate assets' case that also involved her late mentor Jayalalithaa Jayaram.

CHENNAI -- AIADMK chief V K Sasikala on Wednesday visited the memorial of J Jayalalithaa and the Ramapuram residence of party founder M G Ramachandran before leaving for Bengaluru to surrender before a court.

The 62-year-old leader, who was locked in a bitter tussle with AIADMK's O Panneerselvam for Tamil Nadu's chief ministership, took the inevitable journey to the Karnataka capital after the Supreme Court earlier on Wednesday refused to give her further time to surrender.

At the Jayalalithaa memorial on the Marina Beach, Sasikala paid floral tributes and was seen muttering something which was not audible.

She had on Tuesday given pep talk to MLAs and supporters to stay bold and remain united.

"Only I can be jailed, not the care or concern I have for this party. Wherever I will be, my thoughts will be here," Sasikala had told both her MLAs at Koovathur resort as well as to her supporters later at Poes Garden late on Tuesday night.

She said she would be thinking about the party round the clock and that "no force can wean away" the party from her.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Apex Court had refused to entertain her plea, seeking more time to surrender to undergo jail term in the ₹66 crore disproportionate assets case, also involving Jayalalithaa.

"We do not intend to pass any order on this. We are not going to change anything in the judgement," a bench headed by Justice P C Ghose had said. The Bench had on Tuesday convicted her and two others in the 19-year-old case.

Edappadi K Palaniswami was then elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party leader.

Before leaving the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, where Sasikala continued to stay after the former's demise last December, she was greeted by slogan-shouting supporters.

At the Jayalalithaa memorial, Sasikala made her way through the crowd of supporters that included a sobbing former Minister Gokula Indira and Deputy General Secretary and her nephew T T V Dinakaran, and put up a brave face.

Later at the Ramapuram residence of M G Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, she briefly meditated before his portrait. She also paid homage to a life size statue of the former matinee idol at the residence, which she had unveiled recently. Some women there also performed 'aarti' for Sasikala.

Hundreds of police personnel on Wednesday reached a resort near here where AIADMK MLAs backing the now beleaguered V.K. Sasikala are housed after one legislator accused her of abduction.

S.S. Saravanan, a legislator from Madurai South constituency, slapped the complaint against both Sasikala and E. Palanisamy, who was elected leader of the AIADMK legislature wing in place of Sasikala.

Saravanan landed up at acting Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam's residence here on Monday and told the media that he scaled a wall at the resort and jumped down to escape. He said he had to disguise himself to get away from the resort where he alleged he was held against his wishes.

Sasikala supporters insist that the MLAs backing her faction against Panneerselvam are at the resort on their free will. Many of the legislators made the same point to the media on Wednesday. But after Saravanan's complaint, a large number of police personnel reached the resort.

One of the legislators, Thenarasu, told the media that the legislators would vacate the resort once the Tamil Nadu Governor invited their leader to form a government. He said the legislators could also vacate the resort if Palanisamy told them to do so.

Thenarasu said the police made some enquiries and had left. But others at the site said they were still massed outside the complex.

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