Tamil Nadu’s ex – chief minister (CM) J. Jayalalithaa was both famous and notorious. She had won the hearts of the people of Tamil Nadu by launching welfare schemes like Amma brand, ‘Thalikku Thangam’ (Gold for marriage thread), Cradle baby scheme among other schemes and achievements. She was also a renowned actress, singer and dancer before she became a politician. But she was also notorious for accumulating disproportionate assets, her arrogant nature, taking political revenge on the DMK chief, MK Karunanidhi in 2003, her lesbian relationship with Sasikala Natarajan among other reasons. Read more on Jayalalithaa
Jayalalithaa was convicted for misusing her office during her tenure as Tamil Nadu’s CM between 1991 and 1996. She was accused of spending lavishly on her foster son’s wedding in 1996 and also for amassing properties worth around Rs. 66 crores. The assets under the purview of the Disproportionate Asset Case were her bungalows in Chennai, vast acres of agricultural land in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, a farm house in Chennai and Hyderabad, a tea estate in Nilgiris, valuable jewelry, fleet of luxury cars, crores of hard cash and industrial sheds in Tamil Nadu. A raid in her Poes garden residence in 1997 recovered 800 kgs of silver, 28 kgs of gold, 750 pairs of shoes, 10,500 silk sarees, 91 golden watches and other valuables! The valuables were kept in a vault in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Chennai. Opposition parties petitioned to request the court to take the control of the assets, but the special judge John Michael Cunha who inspected the assets on 7th January 2014, ordered the assets to be transferred to Bengaluru.
The Disproportionate Asset Case continued in the courts for eighteen years and was transferred from the courts in Chennai to Bengaluru high court. The judgment was pronounced on 27th September, 2014. The four convicted, namely, J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala Natarajan, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran were sentenced all to four years of simple imprisonment. J. Jayalalithaa was fined Rs. 100 crores while the other three accused were fined Rs. 10 crores each. It was the first case where the ruling Chief Minister had to step down on account of a court sentence. J. Jayalalithaa had to step down from her post as Tamil Nadu’s CM because of the Representation of People’s Act that prevents convicted politicians from holding office. In May 2015, Judge, C.R. Kumaraswamy of the Karnataka High Court acquitted J. Jayalalithaa and others of all charges. This enabled her to return to her office as the CM of Tamil Nadu in 23rd May, 2015. Whether for good or bad reasons, the ex – CM of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa was truly a legend. Read more on Startup News