Soon after her conviction, Sasikala expels Panneerselvam from AIADMK, appoints her loyalist as Legislature Party Leader


New Delhi: After being convicted in disproportionate assets case, VK Sasikala expelled her rival and acting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was from the AIADMK.

Her loyalist and nephew, Minister Edappady K Palaniswamy, has been elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader.

Other leaders, including Minister K Pandiarajan, PH Pandian, N Vishvananthan and senior leader C Ponnaiyan, were also expelled from the party by Sasikala.

VK Sasikala camp has also written a letter to the Governor mentioning that O Panneerselvan has been expelled and Edapadi K Palanisamy was appointed as the new leader of legislator. The letter further reads the Governor should invite them to form the government.

“All MLAs have elected me as the legislature party leader. Soon, we will meet Governor with support letter of the MLAs. We have sent a letter to Govennor and are awaiting his reply,” said K.Palanisamy after being elected as the Legislature Party Leader.

The decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Sasikala at Golden Bay Resorts today.

After the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict in the 19-year-old case setting aside the Karnataka High Court judgement that had acquitted her, Panneerselvam’s supporters were seen celebrating and bursting firecrackers.

However, Panneerselvam urged AIADMK MLAs to sink differences and work together to keep party united and continue ‘Amma’s rule’.

“I am confident that I will get the majority. General people given us overwhelming support to us. I would like to thank all my brothers and sisters. Amma’s tule will continue…will continue…will continue….Amma’s spirit is guiding us. We will follow the footsteps of Amma (Jayalalithaa).

Meanwhile, four state transport buses have entered the Golden Bay resort in Kovathur led by two IGP rank officers, idicating that she can be taken into custody soon.

MGR look alike celebrating Sasikala’s verdict outside OPS residence in Chennai (Deepa Balakrishnan)

Meanwhile, DMK Working President M K Stalin described as “historic” and called on Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to take steps for forming a stable government in Tamil Nadu.

“Justice done after a long time, after about two decades. It is a historic judgment,” Stalin said, adding that the verdict showed how politicians should conduct themselves in public life.

“The judgment shows that one cannot escape. In public life probity is very important. For all politicians, this will be a lesson,” he said.

Following the verdict, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao should take steps to form a stable government, he told reporters.

Asked on the stand that his party will take in the Assembly in the event of a floor test, he merely said, “DMK’s stand will be beneficial to the country.”

Sasikala was earlier today convicted by the apex court which set aside the Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case that also involved the late Jayalalithaa.

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 verdict disqualifies Sasikala from becoming a legislator, and consequentially she can’t be chief minister either.

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.

Sasikala was earlier acquitted in the assets case by the Karnataka High Court.

Sasikala was fighting a bitter power battle with interim Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after the demise of J Jayalithaa. Now, the verdict disqualifies Sasikala from becoming a legislator, and consequentially she can’t be chief minister either.

The bench read the operative portion of the voluminous judgement saying that “according to the materials and evidence place on record, we set aside the judgement and the order of the high court and affirm in toto the judgement and order the trial court convicting the accused persons”.

The bench said since Jayalalithaa has expired, the proceeding against her is abated.

“Nevertheless, we reiterate that having regard to the facts, the charge framed against them by the trial court is restored,” the bench said.

“Since the charges framed by the trial court have been restored against all of them they will surrender forthwith before the trial court and serve the remaining part of the sentence,” the bench said.

The trial court had sentenced Sasikala and her two relatives to four years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 10 crore each. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years with a fine of Rs 100 crore.

In a separate but concurring judgement, Justice Amitava Roy said, “We have expressed deep concern about escalating menace of corruption in society.”

On June 7 last year, the apex court had reserved its verdict in the case after hearing detailed arguments from all the parties including the Karnataka government.

On July 27, 2015, the apex court had issued notices on Karnataka government’s appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement to Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her relatives.

The Karnataka HC had on May 11, 2015 ruled that Jayalalithaa’s conviction by special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

The special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

(With PTI  inputs)

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