Expelled ADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala has faced questioning for two consecutive days - Thursday and Friday in connection with the heist and murder case of the palatial Kodanad estate, which she jointly owned along with the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The estate sits in the Nilgiris district and the incident has happened in April 2017, four months after the demise of Jayalalithaa, under the Edappadi Palaniswami regime.
For the first time since the incident had happened, VK Sasikala was questioned by the special police team at her residence in T Nagar, Chennai. While the questioning of Sasikala has drawn major attention with the assertion that the case is progressing at a steady pace, it has now come to the revelation that the police team had asked over 150 questions to VK Sasikala in two days of interrogation.
Led by R Sudhakar IPS, the IG of the West Zone, the team has also consisted of Ashish Rawat IPS, the Superintendent of Police of the Nilgiris. The police team had grilled Sasikala with the questions about the documents and valuables that were robbed from the Kodanad estate and the officials said that she was cooperating during the interrogation and divulged a lot of information. It has been reported that Sasikala was questioned in a separate room where all the proceedings were recorded and videographed.
After the questioning, Sasikala's legal counsel advocate Raja Senthoor Pandian has addressed the reporters during which he said that Sasikala hasn't visited the estate to date after the incident had happened as she didn't want to disturb the probe. It must be noted that VK Sasikala was serving her prison sentence in Bengaluru while the heist and murder had happened in the Kodanad estate. As Sasikala has now been questioned, the reports say that Edappadi Palaniswami will be next for the probe.
Earlier, the accused in the case had admitted that the robbery had happened in the direction of Edappadi Palaniswami, who was the then Chief Minister. It has been reported that he and other senior ADMK leaders close to him would have been involved in the crime. As the probe has come till Sasikala, who was one of the owners of the estate, it will progress towards Palaniswami as the next step.
IANS had quoted the sources saying that a special police team will most likely question Edappadi Palaniswami in the Kodanad case. The team will finalize the date of questioning Palaniswami soon as the developments around the case have been troubling Palaniswami and the ADMK amid facing the internal political crisis. The reports say that after the questioning, Sasikala had demanded the police team take stringent action against the culprits who are behind the crime.
Earlier this month, the police team had also questioned 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. After Jayalalithaa's demise, the estate had gone deserted as soon and 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.
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. So far, the police have interrogated over 210 people and on Thursday, Sasikala has become the latest one to get questioned.