CHENNAI: In her first public appearance since conviction, VK Sasikala, who left the five Star Golden Bay resort this evening, broke down, saying, “No force can separate me from AIADMK. No matter where I’ll be, I’ll always think about the party.” Earlier today, the Supreme Court convicted Ms Sasikala in a corruption case, and sentenced her to four years in prison, effectively ending her bid to take over as the state’s Chief Minister. Sources in the AIADMK said she is likely to surrender in Bengaluru tomorrow, where she will be lodged in prison.
This evening, Ms Sasikala left the resort where she had spent the night along with more than 100 legislators, who, her party claims, supports her. “I feel so satisfied that despite facing troubles, the MLAs are supporting me,” Ms Sasikala said today, before heading for the Poes Garden residence of J Jayalalithaa. A longtime live-in aide of the former Chief Minister, Ms Sasikala had continued to stay on at the house after Ms Jayalalithaa’s death in December.
Ms Sasikala — who after the Supreme Court’s verdict today expelled O Panneerselvam and appointed Edappadi K Palanisamy as her stand-in to head the party in the assembly — said, “I’m sure we’ll get the invitation as soon as possible, as we remained quiet”.
Mr Panaisamy has already met the Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday evening to stake claim to form the government. A rival team from the camp of Mr Pannneerselvam – who had stepped down to make way for Sasikala and then rebelled exactly a week ago – also met the Governor.
Ms Sasikala had been charged with helping Ms Jayalalithaa amass illicit wealth worth more than 60 crores in the 1990s. This morning, the judges overturned a High Court order that had acquitted her and Ms Jayalalithaa in the case.