Amid swirling speculations about the release of VK Sasikala from the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru, the reply made for the RTI query has now revealed that the jailed leader would likely be released from the prison on January 27, 2021, which would be days ahead of her actual term of the sentence pronounced by the Supreme court.
VK Sasikala was the aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and she has been convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case in which Jayalalithaa was the first accused. The court had given a four-year prison sentence for the convicts and Sasikala has been lodged in the Parappana Agrahara prison since February 2017 and as per the actual sentence, she would have to be in the prison till February 2021. The court had further ordered each convict to pay Rs 10 crore as fine.
However, it has now come to the revelation that Sasikala would likely be getting acquitted from the prison sentence on January 27, 2021. The revelation had come through the Right To Information (RTI) and the reply on her presumptive date of release was given by the Central Prison authority based on the query raised by Bengaluru lawyer and activist Narasimha Murthy.
The RTI reply has also highlighted that her release would be deferred to a year, to February 2022, if she fails to pay the fine of Rs 10 crore as directed by the court, and the date of her release would possibly differ if she applies for further parole. Along with Sasikala, her relatives Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran have also been lodged in the same prison in the same case whereas the first accused Jayalalithaa had passed away in December 2016, while she was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Though Sasikala has been lodged in prison, she has been one of the active leaders on the political fray in the state and her name has been revolving around the state politics with her supporters and family members have been hoping that she would be released prematurely before the end of the actual sentence. The talk of her release has been one of the active subjects in the state and among the ruling party. Earlier in June, BJP leader Aseervatham Achary's tweet had stirred the speculations on Sasikala's release.
In his tweet, Achary said, "Mrs. Sasikala Natarajan is likely to be released from Parapana Agrahara Central jail, Bangalore on 14th August 2020. Wait for further update". His tweet of mentioning the date of her release had done rounds of debates in Tamil Nadu and among the political parties. However, the tweet has gone in vain as she wasn't released in August. Recently, her counsel had stirred the speculations on her release.
Sasikala's counsel Raja Senthura Pandian had said that the jailed leader would be released from the prison by the end of September or early October. Pandian stated that her prison term has been reduced due to her good character and conduct while she was undergoing imprisonment and she would be released with due advice. Earlier in June, Pandian has expressed his confidence that Sasikala will be released from prison within this year.
During her prison sentence, Sasikala ran into controversy after Karnataka's Director General of Prisons D Roopa had exhumed the grounds of irregularities surfaced around her in the central prison where the visuals that later emerged in connection to the irregularities had revealed that Sasikala has been getting special privileges from the jail authorities.
It was later found that Sasikala was given with five rooms for her use, more facilities, free movement within the prison, and extended visiting hours. The revelation had shocked the judiciary and the state government following which it had installed the commission to enquire the matter and the commission had later confirmed the grounds of irregularities.
The RTI reply has come a high time when her release has been expected by her supporters and political party in Tamil Nadu and when D Roopa, who exhumed the irregularities around the convict, has been serving as the Home Secretary of Karnataka currently. Recently, Recently, the IT department has attached as many as 65 Benami properties, spread over 200 acres in Chennai and its vicinities, that belong to Sasikala. The properties are worth Rs 300 crore and the attached list of properties includes a bungalow that has been under construction in Poes Garden, opposite to Jayalalithaa's residence.