Jayalalithaa’s Close Aide VK Sasikala Discharged

On January 20, she was hospitalised after falling ill. She was imprisoned in 2017 in connection with a disproportionate assets case

Bengaluru, February 1: VK Sasikala, expelled AIADMK leader and a close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, was today discharged from hospital in Bengaluru where she was admitted a few days ago with fever and after experiencing breathlessness. She had later tested positive for Covid-19.

A huge group of supporters had gathered at the hospital as she was wheel-chaired out today a little after 12.30pm. The crowd burst into slogans and cheers on seeing her; she acknowledged them with folded hands before getting into a car that drove her away.

Her family has decided to take her to Chennai, PTI reported citing sources close to her.

Over 300 police personnel were deployed in the hospital area to ensure law and order, police said according to the PTI report.

VK Sasikala Released From Banglore Jail

Earlier this week, the 66-year-old was formally released after spending four years in a Bengaluru jail in connection with a corruption case. On January 20, she was rushed to the government’s Bowring And Lady Curzon Medical College & Research Institute in Bengaluru after falling ill and was transferred to Victoria Hospital in the city the following day.

“Mrs Sasikala Natarajan has completed 10 days of treatment today. She has been asymptomatic and maintaining saturation without oxygen since three days. As per protocol, she can be released from hospital,” a bulletin from the Bangalore Medical College had said yesterday.

In 2017, Ms Sasikala was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a ₹ 66 crore disproportionate assets case in which the late Ms Jayalalithaa was the prime accused. Her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi and Ms Jayalalithaa’s foster son VN Sudhakaran, too, were convicted in the case.

Her time in the Bengaluru jail saw allegations of her being given special treatment. Ms Sasikala’s release comes just months before the assembly election in Tamil Nadu.

At the height of her power, Ms Sasikala was a hugely influential force within the AIADMK and, if she can recover even some of that influence, she could emerge a key player this election.

However, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has ruled out talk of Ms Sasikala’s re-entry into the ruling AIADMK, which is reportedly under pressure from its ally the BJP. In 2019, the income tax department had attached properties worth ₹ 1,600 crores belonging to her under the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, according to ANI.

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