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Sasikala sacks Panneerselvam, other party MLAs; AIADMK power war escalates

Tuesday February 14, 2017 4:06 PM, & Agencies

Sasikala OPS Modi
[Prime Minister Modi consoles O Panneerselvam after Jayalalithaa death. VK Sasikala is also seen.]

Hours after the Supreme Court convicted and found guilty the AIADMK General Secretary and close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa V. K. Sasikala in a corruption case, she hit back by sacking interim Chief Minister O Panneerselvam from the party.

After O Panneerselvam was expelled from the primary membership of the party, Edappadi K Palanisamy was named the elected leader of the AIADM legislature party who later urged Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidayasagar Rao to let him form a government.

Sasikala also sacked from the primary membership of the party other MLAs who opposed her and sided with O Panneerselvam who revolted against her after proposing her name for the state's top post.

The decision to sack OPS and other party MLA from the party came after Sasikala called an emergency meeting of MLAs at Golden Bay Resorts in Koovathur to elect a legislature party leader. Jayalalitha's nephew Deepak Jayakumar also present during the meeting.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday found VK Sasikala, who became General Secretary of AIADMK after the death of Jayalalithaa and was aspiring to become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, guilty in a corruption case and asked her to surrender immediately.

The Supreme Court, which set aside the Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case that also involved late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, took minutes to pronounce its ruling.

The apex court restored in toto the judgement and the findings of the trial court in Bengaluru which had held guilty all the accused including Sasikala's two relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi.

The two-judge bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy directed Sasikala and the two relatives to surrender forthwith to the trial court in Bengaluru and serve the remaining part of four year jail term.

61-year-old Sasikala is stll at the five-star Golden Bay Resort resort in Mahabalipuram, 80 km from Chennai, where she spent last night along with about 120 legislators whom she had sequestered for almost a week to prevent them from being poached by the Panneerselvam camp.

Meanwhile, there are victory celebrations at the Chennai home of interim Chief Minister O Panneerelvam, who took charge of the state after J Jayalalithaa died in December, and had challenged Sasikala's claim to the chief minister's post.

AIADMK which had elected Sasikala last week as its leader in the assembly, will now have to elect a new leader. Chief Minister Panneerselvam had resigned last week to facilitate Sasikala's takeover.

A trial court in Bangalore had convicted Jayalalithaa and Sasikala and sentenced them each to four years in jail. Both spent a few months in jail before the Karnataka High Court overturned the trial court order and acquitted them. The Karnataka government had appealed against the acquittal and the top court had reserved verdict in June last year.



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