AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan was on Tuesday (February 14) convicted by the Supreme Court in the two-decade-old disproportionate assets (DA) case and sent to four years in jail. She has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 10 crore.
The SC verdict means Sasikala cannot become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and has also been forbidden from contesting elections for the next 10 years. In retaliation, Sasikala's camp elected Edapadi K Palanisamy as the AIADMK's Legislature Party leader, which strengthens his case as the CM candidate, and sacked O Panneerselvam from the primary membership of the party.
The DA case involving the late CM Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others dates back to the early 1990s when reports emerged that the office of the CM was misused to purchase properties worth over Rs 66 crore, which did not add up to the known sources of income. The properties under the purview of the case include: a tea estate in Nilgiris, several luxury cars, agricultural land in Tamil Nadu, jewellery worth crores of rupees and cash in bank accounts.
The trial, which has been going on for two decades now, was shifted out of the state after a move was made by the Opposition DMK so that the trial was a fair one. Here is a timeline of the case:
June 14, 1996 — Subramanian Swamy, who was the Janata Party chief at that point of time, files a case against Jayalalithaa's acquisition of properties worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income during her first tenure as the Tamil Nadu CM between 1991 and 1996.
June 18, 1996 — The DMK government registers an FIR against Jayalalithaa
December 7, 1996 — Jayalalithaa gets arrested. Several other allegations, including accumulation of disproportionate assets, are made.
June 4, 1997 — Chargesheet filed against Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran under sections 120-B of the IPC, 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, for possessing assets 'disproportionate' to their known sources of income.
May 14, 2001 — Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK is again voted to power in Tamil Nadu. However, her appointment is challenged due to her conviction in October, 2000, in the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation case. The apex court declares her appointment as null and void.
September 21, 2001 — Jayalalithaa ceases to be the Tamil Nadu CM.
February 28, 2003 — DMK files special appeal in SC to shift the case outside of Tamil Nadu for fair jurisdiction.
November 18, 2003 — The SC transfers the case to Bengaluru.
March 2005 — Trial begins in Bengaluru.
September 27, 2014 — A special court convicts Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others for illegally acquiring property following which all of them are sent to the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bengaluru for four years. The court also slaps a fine of Rs 100 crore on all the four convicted.
September 29, 2014 — Jayalalithaa challenges conviction and files bail plea in the Karnataka High Court.
October 7, 2014 —The Karnataka High Court rejects Jayalalithaa's bail plea.
October 17, 2014 — Jayalalithaa is granted bail by the SC.
May 11, 2015 — Jayalalithaa acquitted by the Karnataka High Court and her path is cleared to return as the CM. O Panneerselvam was the man who had served as the CM in her absence.
May 23, 2016 — Jayalalithaa takes oath as the TN CM after winning yet another election.
December 5, 2016 — Jayalalithaa passes away at Apollo Hospital in Chennai following a cardiac arrest.
February 14, 2017 — Supreme Court convicts Sasikala Natarajan and two others in the DA case.