Expelled ADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala had a busy day of interrogations on Thursday as a team that is probing the Kodanad heist and murder case had arrived at her Chennai residence and questioned her for the first time which has implied that the probe is progressing in a steady phase and the police team would probably grill the top ADMK leaders in the next stage.
A special team led by R Sudhakar IPS, West Zone IG, had arrived at VK Sasikala's residence in T Nagar, Chennai to investigate her. In what has become an event of breaking the protocol, the police team had directly gone to her residence while earlier she was summoned to appear before the officials in Chennai on Thursday. The police team had begun interrogating Sasikala around 10 am on Thursday and the questioning went on for several hours.
The heist and murder had happened in the Kodanad estate in April 2017 when the ADMK government led by Edappadi Palaniswami was in the power. The Kodanad estate in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu was jointly owned by VK Sasikala and the late Chief Minister Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa. The police have on Wednesday issued a summon to VK Sasikala to appear for the investigation into the heist and murder case.
The summon to VK Sasikala has come days after the probing team had interrogated former ADMK MLA Aarukutty for nearly ten hours in connection with the case. Kodanad estate is a palatial bungalow where Jayalalithaa would stay as a retreat during summer and Sasikala would also accompany her. After Jayalalithaa's demise, the estate had gone deserted as soon after her demise in December 2016, Sasikala too had gone to prison to serve her four-year incarceration.
While under the rule of Edappadi Palaniswami, Tamil Nadu went aghast to witness a robbery and murder that happened in Kodanad estate on April 23, 2017. A mob had tried to rob the estate and in their operation, the assailants had killed a security guard Om Bahadur of the estate. Kanagaraj, who was Jayalalithaa's car driver, was spelt as the prime accused in the case. However, he was later killed in a road accident in Salem. Under the ADMK regime, the case didn't take off as the police didn't arrest major conspirators in the case.
After DMK came to power, the case was intensified and the police officials are probing the people who are connected with the estate and with the accused. It has been said that the rules of the previous regime had a role in the heist and murder as the mob had robbed prestigious items and several documents that Jayalalithaa had earthed in the estate. The case had taken shocking twists and turns and now, it has come to the level of probing VK Sasikala.
The issuing of the summon for VK Sasikala has drawn major attention and it was the first time that the owner of the palatial estate has been questioned to ascertain what valuables went missing from the bungalow. While the special team was led by IG Sudhakar, it also had consisted of Ashish Rawat, the Superintendent of Police, Nilgiris, and ADSP Krishnamoorthy. The reports say that the interrogation on Thursday had lasted for several hours and Sasikala was cooperating with the probe.
A charge sheet has been filed in which Kanagaraj was accused of hatching a conspiracy to open the Kodanad estate as they believed that a huge amount of money was earthed in the bungalow. As per the police, Kanagaraj had convinced another accused Sayan that an amount of Rs 200 crore was kept hidden in the bungalow. The officials had said that the robbers had ended up heisting ten watches and a crystal rhino, which is worth Rs 42,000.
The police had filed the 300-page charge sheet in September 2017 against eleven people of which only Kanagaraj was from Tamil Nadu while the rest of the people were from Kerala. On April 28, 2017, five days after the murder, Kanagaraj, who was the main accused in the case, was killed in a road accident in Attur, Salem. On the same day, the second accused Sayan, who is a native of Kerala, had met with an accident but he had escaped with injuries while his wife and daughter got killed.
On July 3, 2017, the computer operator of the Kodanad estate, Dinesh Kumar was found dead in his home and so far the case had seen five deaths connected to it. During the trial, Sayan and another accused Valayar Manoj had given an interview to a journalist in which they said that the then Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had ordered the robbery. Their remarks had shocked the state and further proceedings had troubled Palaniswami as three other accused, Sasikala, and the then Nilgiris Collector had already moved to the court to investigate Palaniswami in the case.
As former ADMK MLA Aarukutty has already been questioned, Sasikala is now been interrogated and as the next step, the police will be summoning more people including Edappadi Palaniswami for investigations. So far, the police have interrogated over 210 people and on Thursday, Sasikala has become the latest one to get questioned. The reports say that during the interrogation, the police team had asked Sasikala about Edappadi Palaniswami and his role in the robbery for which Sasikala said she doesn't know about his role.
After questioning about the valuables that were stolen, the police team had recorded VK Sasikala's statement and during the interrogation, hundreds of police personnel were stationed outside her residence. It has been reported that VK Sasikala will also be interrogated on Friday - April 22 for the second straight day and our sources say after completing the interrogation with Sasikala, the probing team will be issuing a summon to Edappadi Palaniswami and his associates for questioning as the Tamil Nadu police are aiming to have a major breakthrough in the case of robbery and murder and several deaths that followed, which will lead it to the climax.
While speaking to the reporters after Thursday's interrogation, VK Sasikala said, "I have responded to the questions that were asked since the morning. The interrogation isn't over yet and it will continue tomorrow. I will speak with you in detail tomorrow after the completion of the interrogation."