As it happened: Why a new chargesheet is filed against VK Sasikala in Bengaluru?

Later this month, VK Sasikala, the close aide of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, will hit one year since getting released from the four-year incarceration. Now, she would be remembering her release along with a new whammy brought by the charge sheet that has been filed against her in Bengaluru. It was filed by the Karnataka Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday. 

According to reports, the charge sheet was filed against VK Sasikala and her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi in connection to the case that was registered against them over alleged preferential treatment given to them at the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru, where they were lodged for four years after getting convicted in the Disproportionate Assets Case, in which Jayalalithaa was the first accused. 

They were among the four who were awarded a four-year prison sentence in February 2017 by the Supreme Court. However, as Jayalalithaa was demised in December 2016, the rest three of them - VK Sasikala and her relatives J Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran were imprisoned in Bengaluru. During her incarceration, Sasikala was accused of availing VIP benefits from the prison authorities and the footage from the prison during that time had stunned the viewers for the special treatment. 

In the footage, Sasikala was seen walking out of the prison premises with a shopping bag and her prison cell was equipped with more facilities. These special treatments were brought by the then DIG of Prisons, Roopa Moudgil and the state government has launched a probe only to witness the dormant move. Despite being accused of availing more benefits, it hasn't affected VK Sasikala's release as she got released from prison in February 2021. 

As she is nearing her one-year of prison release, the latest charge sheet has thrown a bombshell on her amid her efforts to get into active politics. According to reports, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by social worker KS Gita in Chennai in 2021 and her plea was admitted for hearing and it was heard by a division bench of Karnataka High Court comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj. 

During the hearing, the petitioner had asked for a detailed report from the prison authorities for a final report that led to Sasikala allegedly being given special treatment in the Karnataka prison. The petitioner has asked for the report based on the findings of a retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar, who had investigated the allegations of preferential treatment given to Sasikala and her sister-in-law Illavarasi. The social worker further highlighted that no final report in the probe was submitted so far. 

Based on her plea, Karnataka's Anti-Corruption Bureau has filed a charge sheet against VK Sasikala and Illavarasi as it has begun another round of investigation into the special treatment awarded to the duo, who were inmates in a high-profile case. The charge sheet was filed on Wednesday and the reports say that VK Sasikala would be summoned based on the allegation and she would again be put in trouble. Besides, the duo, the charge sheet has also carried the names of four officials of the prison department - Krishna Kumar, Dr R Anitha, B Suresh, and Gajaraja Makanooru.