Supreme Court convicts Sasikala in corruption case, CM bid ends

Supreme Court convicts Sasikala in corruption case, CM bid ends

The Supreme Court on Tuesday restored AIADMK chief V K Sasikala's conviction in a disproportionate assets case and ordered that she be sent back to jail, dashing her hopes of becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and sparking a fresh battle for power in the ruling party.

This evening, Palaniswami became the third Tamil Nadu CM in less than three months. Tamil Nadu has a 234-member legislative assembly.

After the guilty verdict, Sasikala had installed her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran, who had been expelled by Ms Jayalalithaa in 2011, as the deputy general secretary, a powerful post within the party. The Supreme Court bench of Justice Amitava Roy and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, in upholding the lower court's verdict and setting aside the Karnataka High Court judgement sentenced former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's confidante and closest associate Sasikala to four years imprisonment.

He could now be invited by the state's Governor to prove he has majority support in the assembly.

A Raj Bhavan statement said senior party leaders C. Sreenivasan and K.A. Sengottaiyan, the only new face in the cabinet, were appointed minister for forests and minister for school education and sports and youth welfare, respectively.

"This is in acceptance of the letter submitted by Edappadi K. Palanisamy on 14.2.2017 that he was elected as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party in a meeting of the party MLAs held on that day", said a release from the principal secretary to the governor. They then left for the resort in Kuvathur where the MLAs have been staying for over two weeks. The fissures were exposed when Pannerselvam raised the banner of revolt against the party chief on February 6 and alleged that a member of her family had indicated that everyone but Sasikala had benefitted after Jayalalithaa's death.

Palaniswami, 63, has retained the crucial Finance Ministry he had held in the outgoing government of O. Panneerselvam, whose attempt to foil Sasikala's attempt to be the Chief Minister triggered an ugly war in the AIADMK. She requested Governor Vidyasagar Rao to swear in Palanisamy as state leader as her party has the majority in the 235-strong assembly. He has been a Jayalalithaa loyalist since the 1980s and was minister for public works, highways and minor ports in the last Cabinet.

Mr Panneerselvam rebelled days later and challenged Ms Sasikala for the top post.

However, former Minister K Pandiarajan told reporters that the unity of the party was the need of the hour and he would do whatever he could for a patch-up between the two factions.