Sasikala's swearing-in: PIL in SC seeking to stall ceremony, governor seeks legal options

A PIL was on Monday moved in the Supreme Court seeking to restrain AIADMK leader VK Sasikala from being sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister on Tuesday on the ground that the apex court was likely to pronounce within a week the judgement in a corruption case in which she and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa were accused.

The PIL was filed by Chennai resident Senthil Kumar, General Secretary of NGO Satta Panchayat Iyakkam, hours after the apex court indicated it could deliver its judgement on the appeals challenging the acquittal of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala in a 19-year-old disproportionate assets case.

Meanwhile, CNN-News 18 reported that the Tamil Nadu governor has cancelled his scheduled programmes in the state on Tuesday and has sought legal opinion on Sasikala elevation to chief minister. Sources told the news channel that the governor is concerned whether there will be stable government as the court has not ordered closure on case against Sasikala. Reports also suggest that the Sasikala's swearing-in might be put on hold. Sources in the AIADMK party told CNN-News 18 that the swearing-in could take place on 9 February.

The petition is likely to be heard on Tuesday morning. Kumar, who mentioned in the plea that he will argue the matter in person, sought a stay on Sasikala's swearing-in, contending that if she was convicted and forced to resign, there was a possibility of riots erupting all over Tamil Nadu. He said law and order may worsen in such an eventuality as the state was already facing a "desperate situation" due to cyclone, demonetisation and death of Jayalalithaa.

 Sasikalas swearing-in: PIL in SC seeking to stall ceremony, governor seeks legal options

VK Sasikala. File photo. PTI

The petitioner claimed in case the appeal against her acquittal results in conviction, the AIADMK workers may once again protest and disturb the normal life of Tamil Nadu.

The petitioner said he filed the plea in the interest of people of Tamil Nadu and to maintain the peace in the state.

After Jayalalithaa passed away on 5 December, 2016, Sasikala, who was her shadow for nearly three decades, was elected general secretary of AIADMK on 29 December and elected leader of its legislature party on Sunday.

Jayalalitha along with her aides Sasikala Natarajan, VN Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi were booked under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC for amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income in 1997.

The trial of the case was shifted by Supreme Court to Bengaluru on a petition filed by a DMK leader and the court there had convicted them on 27 September, 2014. However, the Karnataka High Court had reversed the Special Court's judgment on 11 May, 2015.

The Karnataka government had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which reserved its judgement in June last year.

Earlier in the day, an apex court bench headed by Justice PC Ghose asked senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Karnataka, to wait for a week after he made a mention before it regarding the delay in pronouncement of the verdict.

The apex court had last year, before the demise of Jayalalithaa, reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the the Karnataka HC order of her acquittal.

In case the Supreme Court upholds the lower court verdict, Sasikala would have to step down.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 22:02:28 IST