Jayalalithaa Aide Sasikala’s Release: Here’s Why She Is Likely to Walk Out Of Bengaluru Prison In August

Jayalalithaa Aide Sasikala’s Release: Here’s Why She Is Likely to Walk Out Of Bengaluru Prison In AugustV K Sasikala Natarajan.
  • It is possible for Sasikala to walk out of the Parppana Agrahara Central Prison in August.

    Here’s how.

A tweet by Aseervatham Achary, coordinator of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) documentation and library department, has set Tamil Nadu political climate abuzz on the release of V K Sasikala Natarajan, the aide of late J Jayalalithaa, from the Parppana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru.

“Now: Breaking News. Mrs Sasikala Natarajan is likely to be released from Parapana Agrahara Central Jail, Bangalore on 14th August. Wait for update,” Achary tweeted yesterday (25 June).

When contacted, Achary said: “No comment. I stand by my tweet”.

The New Indian Express daily reported that Bengaluru Central Prison authorities refuted claims that Sasikala, who was even chosen as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief before the prison sentence, could be released anytime soon.

But the daily said Sasikala’s name did not figure in the list of names due for release the next 30 days. It also quoted the chief superintendent of the prison as saying that the date for Sasikala’s release has not been decided yet.

Marudhu Alaguraj, who had edited AIADMK official journal Namadhu MGR before the party split, said Sasikala is due to be released from Parppana Agrahara jail in February next year.

He said reports of Sasikala’s early release were being floated to keep the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) united as many of its leaders were leaving the party either to join the AIADMK or Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

But it is possible for Sasikala to walk out of the Parppana Agrahara Central Prison in August, according to prison rules.

Prisoners are supposed to get holidays on Sundays and national holidays. Therefore, 54 Sundays for three years means 162 days of leave. Then, there are at least 10 national holidays a year. That makes it a total of 192 days of leave a prisoner is entitled to.

If her date of surrender before the court is taken into account (15 February 2017), then the four-year term without any break or holiday runs up to 14 February 2021.

Going by Achary’s tweet, Sasikala will be stepping out at least 184 days before 14 February next year. This is a possibility as per prison rules.

This view is also supported by an official that New Indian Express has quoted. According to the official, a prisoner can get three days of remission a month for good behaviour, discipline and scrupulous attention to all regulations as per Karnataka prison rules.

Prisoners get an additional three days remission per month for industry and performance of allotted work.

Also, the prison superintendent can grant 30 days remission a year under special remission. “These need to be taken into consideration while releasing a convict. By all probability, she may be released next month or August," the daily quoted the unnamed official.

Sasikala almost became Tamil Nadu chief minister in February 2017 before the Supreme Court sentenced her to four years imprisonment for possessing wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income.

On 5 February 2017, the AIADMK legislators unanimously elected her as the chief of the AIADMK legislature party, though then acting chief minister O Panneerselvam and a few of his cabinet ministers kept away.

Only after her attempt to become the chief minister was cut short by the Supreme Court, current Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) was elected to lead the party’s government in the state.

On 14 February 2017, sentencing Sasikala, her sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew V N Sudhakaran to imprisonment, the Supreme Court asked them to surrender within 24 hours. The three presented themselves before the Parppana Agrahara court on 15 February before being sent to the Central Prison.

The AIADMK has since split with Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dinakaran, who attempted to take over the reins of power in the state but was scuttled by EPS. He then floated his AMMK after he was expelled from the party. Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK in September 2017.

Though Sasikala will step out of the prison before the Tamil Nadu assembly elections scheduled in May next year, she cannot enter electoral politics for six years.

However, her presence in the state during the election period in Tamil Nadu could be worth watching since the stakes for all the parties are high.

Moreover, Tamil film superstar Rajnikanth has also announced that he will launch his political party and fight the state elections.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani


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