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Sasikala Won’t Be Released Before January 2021, Say Prison Authorities in Response to RTI Query

Sasikala Natarajan was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case by the Supreme Court in 2017.

Sasikala Natarajan was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case by the Supreme Court in 2017.

Sasikala Natarajan was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case by the Supreme Court in 2017.

Bengaluru: Putting speculations to rest about the likely early release of J Jayalalitha's personal aide Sashikala Natarajan from the Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru, prison authorities have stated that her “probable date of release” is January 27, 2021.

The authorities made the disclosure while responding to an RTI query filed by advocate T Narasimha Murthy on August 8 to seek information of the probably date of release of Sashikala who was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case by the Supreme Court in 2017.

“As per prison records convict prisoner number 9234 Sasikala's "probable date of release" is 27-01-2021 provided in-default fine amount is paid as awarded by the Hon'ble court. Further her "probable date of release" would be 27-02-2022, if the fine is not paid," the chief superintendent of prison said in response to the RTI query.

Sasikala's lawyer, however, claims that she could be released by end September, provided the Prapanna Agrahara prison officials grant an ordinary remission on grounds of her good behaviour. Speaking to News 18 earlier this month, Raja Senthoor Pandian had said, "According to the jail manual, those booked under prevention of Corruption Act can be given a reduction of 36 days per year. This rule is for any prisoner. So considering that January 27, 2021 is when she is scheduled to be released as she completes her four-year prison term, she is eligible for a 129-day exemption".

Speculations were rife in June when Dr Aseervatham Achary, a BJP leader, tweeted that the AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan was likely to be released on August 14. The tweet sent shockwaves in the Tamil Nadu political circle which is gearing up for elections in 2021.

Back in 2017, it was Sasikala who had nominated Edappadi Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate against the interim chief minister O. Paneerselvam, forcing him to rebel. Palaniswami had, subsequently, cut off ties with Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran, and joined hands with the BJP for elections.

However, after she went to jail, the two factions have since come together and EPS and OPS have now completed four years in power assuming the posts of CM and Deputy CM, and party leader and deputy leader, respectively. Sasikala’s release ahead of the 2021 state-elections is sure to heat up the battleground for Tamil Nadu, adding a new twist to the triangle, over the next chief ministerial face for the AIADMK.

first published:September 15, 2020, 14:28 IST