Chennai, Feb 14: In a major blow to AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, the Supreme Court on Tuesday pronounced Natarajan guilty and announced 3.5-year jail term in the 21-year-old Disproportionate Assets (DA) case against her. She is expected to serve over 3 years in jail. The apex court has asked Sasikala to surrender as soon as possible. As per the reports, the police have reached the Golden Bay Resort to arrest Sasikala. Sasikala will not be able to contest elections for 6 years.
All the convicted persons have to serve the remaining part of the sentence, said Supreme Court while pronouncing its judgement against Sasikala. Sasikala will have to surrender herself forthwith.
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“In the past whenever Amma was in crisis, I also suffered this time also I will take it upon me. ‘Dharma’ will win,” says VK Sasikala.
WHAT NEXT FOR TAMIL NADU?
Now that the Supreme Court has shattered Sasikala’s Chief Minister dreams after convicting her in the DA case, Sasikala is now expected to serve over 4 years in jail. Amid this, it is likely that the caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will now be handed over the charge of the state.
However, considering the support Natarajan enjoys in Tamil Nadu and from the AIADMK party, it is very likely that she might nominate the Presidium Chairman KA Sengottaiyan as her successor to run for the Chief Minister post against Panneerselvam.
The Supreme Court might have debarred her from contesting elections for the next 6 years, it cannot stop her from running the AIADMK party. Since she has 129 MLAs supporting her, she still enjoys the majority. Someone else can be nominated for the post of chief minister who is loyal to her. “Her conviction doesn’t debar her from running the party,” said Sorabjee.
Sasikala still has the support of 129 MLAs while O Panneerselvam has support only 8 MLAs from the AIADMK party.
All eyes are not set on Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao who had till now kept the swearing-in ceremony on hold. If no nomination comes forward from Sasikala Natarajan before she goes to jail, it is likely that Panneerselvam will be favoured as the Chief Minister.
While the power tussle was going on between the two warring factions, more and more MLAs had started joining the OPS camp.
Ahead of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case, which convicted Sasikala guilty, one more AIADMK MLA from Mettur Semmalai extended his support to caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam joining his camp.
Last night, AIADMK’s South Madurai MLA Saravanan and MP from Madurai R Gopalakrishnan too extend their support to O Panneerselvam camp.
The Panneerselvam supporters have started celebrating expecting a positive turn for the OPS camp after 8-day political tussle between Sasikala and Panneerselvam.