VK Sasikala was found guilty of corruption by the Supreme Court and has been sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday. This ends her high-velocity and divisive bid to be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu – she is now barred from contesting an election for the next ten years. At 10:30 am on Tuesday, two judges of the Supreme Court delivered their ruling separately, but agreed that Ms Sasikala had, in the early 90s, accumulated an illicit fortune with Ms Jayalalithaa, the five-term Chief Minister who she lived with, and who died in December.
By detailing “incriminating evidence” against her, Tuesday’s judgement rips a huge hole through the legacy of Ms Jayalalithaa, beloved Amma (mother) to lakhs of supporters who accorded her deity-like status and treated her with religious fervor. The case was premised on the fact that during her first term, Ms Jayalalithaa misused her office to accrue 60 crores of assets in a shared fortune with Ms Sasikala and her relatives, two of whom have also been convicted on Tuesday.
As the verdict was delivered in Delhi, Ms Sasikala was at a resort on the outskirts of Chennai, where about 120 legislators from her party, the ruling AIADMK, have been stationed for a week to prevent them from being poached by rival O Panneerselvam. He took over as Chief Minister after the death of Ms Jayalalithaa, who was his mentor. To win, 117 votes are needed. The AIADMK has 134 members; 11 of them are siding with OPS.