Chennai: The conviction of AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala by the Supreme Court is a great victory for the DMK which pursued the case for 21 years till its logical end to prove that its political opponents are corrupt to the core.
The FIR in the case against former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case was filed by the DMK on June 18, 1996. The DMK government, which carried out a detailed investigation for a year into the disproportionate accumulation of wealth filed a chargesheet against Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, her relatives Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran on June 4, 1997.
However, the success of the AIADMK-BJP alliance in the 1998 Parliament elections became a major hurdle in the pursuance of cases against Jayalalithaa and the other accused. The AIADMK, which joined the Union Cabinet under A.B. Vajpayee pushed for the dismissal of the DMK government and topped the central government after a year.
The DMK joined the BJP alliance in the 1999 Parliament elections and became a part of the Union Cabinet. The DMK government pursued the cases without much hurdle for the next two years. However, the return of AIADMK government in 2001 threatened to derail the case with many of the witnesses turning hostile. In a major move, DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan filed a petition in the Supreme Court on February 28, 2003, asking the apex court to transfer the case against the four accused to a neighbouring state to ensure a fair trial.
Upholding Anbazhagan’s petition, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Karnataka on November 18, 2003. A trial court in Bangalore started its hearing in 2005 March. With petitions after petitions, the trial in Bangalore was dragged for nine years.
Finally, the DMK’s strategy of shifting the case to Bangalore yielded fruits on September 27, 2014. The special court judge Micheal Cunha, in a land mark verdict convicted Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran. The four convicts were sentenced to four years of imprisonment and were jailed in Bangalore.
Jayalalithaa had to step down from the post of Chief Minister and she was disqualified from the Chief Minister’s post. But, in a major reversal for the DMK, Karnataka High Court judge Kumarasamy acquitted all the accused saying that the additional wealth disproportionately acquired is below 20 per cent which is allowed as per law. The verdict allowed Jayalalithaa to become Chief Minister again. Besides, she won a second consecutive term in 2016 and remained in power till her death.
Anbazhagan, the original petitioner in the case, before Karnataka government took over the case, was 80 years old when he filed a petition in the Supreme Court to transfer the case from Tamil Nadu. Assisted by the DMK legal team, Anbazhagan had fought for 14 long years to celebrate a spectacular success at the age of 94.