Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa arrived in Chennai on Saturday by a special aircraft on being released from the Bangalore jail after the Supreme Court granted her bail.
AIADMK cadres were jubilant and celebrated the release of Jayalalithaa, who spent 21 days in prison.
The moment Jayalalithaa emerged from the central jail compound in Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, at 3.10pm, Tamil Nadu chief minister O Pannerselvam threw himself flat on the road in front of the main gate — face down, hands folded in prayer.
As many as 300 AIADMK ministers, MLAs and MPS who were standing behind Panneerselvam, took off their slippers and went down on all fours. Their spotless white shirts and lungis were smeared with mud and slush; it had rained heavily just a few minutes earlier.
Jayalalithaa's supporters celebrate her release in Bangalore on Saturday. (Sudipto Mondal/HT Photo)
The only person, whose presence Jayalalithaa acknowledged before she zoomed off in her imported SUV, was Panneerselvam.
"For a moment, I thought he (Pannerselvam) slipped and fell. My first instinct was to pick him up but I quickly realised that he was paying his respects," said a lady Karnataka cadre IPS officer who was a witness to the scene.
From the jail, Jayalalithaa left in a cavalcade of around 30 vehicles toward the HAL airport where she took a flight to Chennai.
Moments after she left, her supporters broke the police cordon and approached the media flashing victory signs. In voices choking with emotion, they cried out in chorus: "Amma..Amma." The police chased them away with a mild baton charge.
Earlier, at noon, special court judge Michael Cunha, issued the release order after Jayalalithaa's legal team furnished two bonds of Rs. 1 crore each. Similar bonds were executed for the release of her other three associates: Sasikala Natarajan, V Sudhakaran and J Elavarisi.
Watch: Security tightened outside jail ahead of Jayalalitha's release
A special court September 27 convicted Jayalalithaa in a Rs 66.65-crore disproportionate assets case and sentenced her to four years simple imprisonment, with a fine of Rs 100 crore under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Her three associates -- Natarajan, Sudhakaran and Elavarisi, who were released along with her from the jail, accompanied her.
The trio was also granted bail by the apex court in the same graft case, in which they were also convicted and sentenced to four years jail term with a fine of Rs 10 crore each.
"Jayalalithaa left the jail after completing the formalities. She is fine and in good health," Karnataka inspector general of Prisons (IGP) KV Gagandeep told IANS minutes after she walked free at 3.15pm and waved to the crowd at Parapanna Agrahara on Bangalore's outskirt.
A special court ordered Jayalalithaa's release after the Supreme Court Friday granted her an interim bail in the corruption case.
"The special court judge (John Michael D'Cunha) issued the order after Jayalalithaa's counsel furnished a bond of Rs. 2 crore and two sureties of assets were submitted by her known persons," Gagandeep said.
The two sureties of properties valued at Rs 5 crore and Rs.1 crore were given by J Bharat and Gunajyothi, who are party cadres in the Chennai.
The release order was issued after Jayalalithaa's counsel submitted to the court a certified copy of the apex court order, suspending her four-year jail term and granting her an interim bail till December 18.
Hundreds of Jayalalithaa's ardent fans and frenzied supporters from Chennai and Hosur across the border lined up on both sides of the Bangalore thoroughfares and cheered her as her convoy sped away towards the airport.
Many AIADMK cadres danced, clapped and waived party flags, while others burst firecrackers at junctions en-route raising slogans in favour of their aamma' (mother) and denouncing at the same time DMK president M. Karunanidhi.
Ecstatic supporters welcomed Jayalalithaa in Chennai.
AIADMK cadres assembled in large numbers shouted 'Long Live Amma'.
Jayalalithaa drove straight to her residence in Poes Garden area. Party cadres - men and women - braving heavy rains were assembled outside her residence and the airport to have a glimpse of their leader.
Film starlet Vidya told Jaya TV that Amma is for Makkal and Makkal are for Amma (Amma is for people and people are for Amma) to sum up the general sentiments of the people. Shock, anger, sadness after Jayalalithaa was jailed gave way to unalloyed pleasure and happiness, that exploded into noisy celebrations.
Right from the morning, Poes Gardens was the scene of festivities and much slogan shouting for their supreme leader. “Puratchi thalaivi, vazhga vazhga” (revolutionary leader, zindabad zindabad) rent the air every time a camera focused on the crowds.
Manikandan S, a farmer and AIADMK worker from Cauvery region, said “she had done a lot for farmers. Her hardship is unbearable for us and we will do anything for her.”
Some 1,000 people crowded the airport arrival area and lined up on either side of the road for a darshan of Amma, who spent 21 days in Bangalore prison.
Thousands of people were out on the street, at airport, along the route and at her residence, braving the intermittent rain for better part of the day. Even Jayalalithaa’s convoy passed through water logged road near Kotturpuram, where it slowed down in front of a Vinayaka temple.
Jayalalithaa was seen bowing her head slightly and folded her hands in namaskaram (salutation) to the presiding diety of the temple – Lord Vinayak. She had prayed in the same temple before heading to Bangalore for judgement in the disproportionate assets case on September 27.
(With IANS inputs)