New Delhi/Chennai: The Supreme Court is set to deliver a verdict in a disproportionate assets case against AIADMK leader VK Sasikala on Tuesday morning.
The ruling may well decide the future political course of Tamil Nadu where Sasikala and ‘caretaker’ Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are vying for the reins of the government and the party.
The matter has been listed before a two-judge bench at 10:30 am.
Sasikala, along with the late CM J Jayalalithaa, was convicted in a disproportionate assets case by a Karnataka court, but was subsequently acquitted by the state’s High Court. A batch of appeals, including by the Karnataka government, were filed against the acquittal.
A conviction would shatter Sasikala’s dream of taking over the CM’s chair in Tamil Nadu and bar her from electoral politics. She may then prop up a loyalist as the leader of her faction within the AIAMDK.
The court also has the option of setting aside the acquittal and the matter then goes back to the Karnataka HC. This scenario, too, would deal a blow to Sasikala as the trial court’s conviction would come into force till the HC verdict, barring her from becoming the CM.
Sasikala and her loyalists would be hoping that the top court upholds the acquittal as a floor test looms over the Assembly.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has advised Governor Vidyasagar Rao to hold a composite floor test in the Assembly.
Sasikala has claimed the support of 129 party MLAs while Panneerselvam claims that the lawmakers have been “held captive” at a luxury resort near Chennai. So far, 12 AIADMK parliamentarians and seven MLAs, excluding Panneerselvam, have sided with the 'caretaker' CM. The latest additions to his flock are Madurai South MLA Saravanan and MP Gopalakrishnan.
Charges and counter-charges, including over Jayalalithaa’s death, have been flying thick in the state since Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala at Amma Memorial on February 7. Both have met the Governor but there has been no indication of a decision from Raj Bhavan.
Sasikala, who met party MLAs at the luxury resort for the third consecutive day on Monday, would be camping with the lawmakers overnight. “I will stay back here with you… We will walk out with happy faces tomorrow,” she told the MLAs. She also accused Panneerselvam’s camp of threatening families of the MLAs.