The Supreme Court granted immunity from arrest and police protection to Rajya Sabha member Sasikala Pushpa on Friday after the expelled AIADMK leader alleged a threat to her life.
Sasikala had grabbed headlines last month when she broke down on live television inside Parliament and accused AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa of slapping her. Since then, she has claimed a threat to her “life and dignity” but the Tamil Nadu police has repeatedly refused to grant her security.
But on Friday, the top court gave her protection for six weeks and said the Tamil Nadu Police’s refusal showed “there is something more than what meets the eye”.
“She is an MP and will not run away,” the apex court said. Sasikala was facing a criminal case from a former employee but the SC granted her immunity from the arrest.
Sasikala had slapped DMK MP Tiruchi Siva at the Delhi airport, angering Jayalalithaa and triggering her expulsion from the party.
The Rajya Sabha member– who shares her name with a close associate of Jayalalithaa – said she was being hounded by the AIADMK.
“ Will the government save me?... I am being harassed. I need protection. In Tamil Nadu, I don’t have safety,” she had told the Rajya Sabha. “Where is women’s safety in this country?
Pushpa is one of the few prominent women leaders in the AIADMK and was nominated by the CM to stand for Rajya Sabha elections in 2014 -- the conclusion, many thought, to her meteoric rise through the party ranks.
This is not the first time that the two have been at loggerheads: Jayalalithaa had removed Pushpa from as president of the party’s women’s wing as well as forced her to step down as deputy leader of the AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha party in January.
Rumours indicated her alleged support of a sand mafia tycoon in Thoothukudi and proximity to DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi had vexed Jayalalithaa.