Jayalalithaa to serve 4 years in jail, pay Rs100 crore fine in assets case

A Special Court in Bangalore has found Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa Jayaraam guilty in the 18-year-old disproportionate assets case and convicted her under section 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, awarding her four years imprisonment and a fine of Rs100 crore.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa

The conviction, which provides for a minimum punishment of one year and a maximum sentence of up to seven years, disqualifies Jayalalithaa as an MLA and she will have to step down as chief minister immediately.

While the prosecution has asked for the maximum sentence, Judge John Michael D'Cunha who pronounced the verdict earlier in the day in Bangalore Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara, is reported to have awarded four-year jail term to all the convicted persons in the case.

Jayalalithaa's former aide Sasikala, V N Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi have also been convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced to four years in jail and fines of Rs10 crore each.

The Rs66.65-crore assets case dates back to Jayalalithaa's first term as chief minister from 1991 to 1996. It was filed before a special court in Chennai in 1997 by Tamil Nadu's Department of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC).

The case was transferred to Bangalore's Special Court in 2003 by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts over the conduct of a fair trial with Jayalalithaa as chief minister.

From a hesitant teen starlet to becoming the protege of AIADMK founder and popular Tamil film star M G Ramachandran aka MGR and a three-time chief minister, Jayalalithaa Jayaraam has seen many highs and lows in her four-decade-long political career, the latest being her conviction in the 18-year-old graft case today. 

Jayalalithaa had to quit as the Chief Minister immediately after her swearing in 2001 following the Supreme Court declaring null and void the action of the then governor Fatima Beevi appointing her as chief minister as she had been sentenced to two years' rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case.

O Paneerselvan, a junior minister in her council of ministers, was appointed chief minister of Tamil Nadu. By 2002, she was cleared of all charges and sworn in again as the chief minister.

It is not yet known who will take up the reins in Tamil Nadu after "Amma", as she is popularly known, goes to jail.