As Justices Pinaki Chandra Bose and Amitava Roy of the Supreme Court read out their verdict in the high-profile Disproportionate Assets case, not only were they ruling on the political future of VK Sasikala, but also the legacy of J Jayalalithaa.
As Tamil Nadu now turns its attention to how Sasikala and O Panneerselvam will outdo each other in the ongoing political crisis, let’s remember that the Supreme Court today effectively also held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption, and holding disproportionate assets.
While pronouncing the verdict today, Justice PC Ghose said that while the trial court order against A2, A3 and A4 (Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran) is restored – effectively holding them guilty and imposing the Rs 10 crore fine on them – he stated that the case against Jayalalithaa had ‘abated’.
Since Jayalalithaa is dead, she cannot be declared a convict, but by abating the case against her and holding the others guilty, the court has effectively pronounced her guilty. Legal experts further point out that if not for her complicity in the corruption, there could not have been a ‘conspiracy’ by the other three accused for which they have been convicted.
The exact details of what happens to the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on her by the trial court remains to be seen, as the full order of the court has not been made public yet.
That Jayalalithaa has been pronounced guilty deals a body blow to her legacy and to the AIADMK. Known to have been touchy about her image throughout her political life, she took every effort to maintain that she was not corrupt, and only a victim of the DMK’s political conspiracy.
But after her death, the Supreme Court has effected a finality to her image: She was a corrupt Chief Minister.
This verdict could also impact the politics of the AIADMK. With the party standing on the foundation of the legacy of Jayalalithaa, one can expect political opponents to repeatedly point out that she was indeed guilty.
But in her guilt, Sasikala also finds a leader who she can lay the blame on. It is very likely that she will now point out that all she did was for Jayalalithaa, and that both of them are victims of DMK’s politicking.
Source: The News Minute