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Sasikala paid Rs 2 crore bribe to prison officials? Siddaramaiah orders probe

There are allegations that 59-year-old Sasikala is getting ‘royal treatment’ in the women’s cell of a Karnataka jail where she has been lodged in connection with a graft case.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2017 17:43 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Chennai, Hindustan Times
MK Stalin,VK Saiskala,AIADMK
VK Sasikala addresses after taking charge as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary in Chennai. The AIADMK general secretary has been behind the bars since February 15 in a disproportionate assets case.(PTI)

DMK leader MK Stalin demanded on Thursday a thorough inquiry into allegations that AIADMK leader VK Sasikala paid Rs 2 crore to Karnataka’s top prison officer and jail staff in exchange for special treatment in a Bengaluru jail, asking for strict action against her.

Karnataka’s deputy inspector general of prisons Roopa D Moudgil accused her boss HN Sathyanarayana Rao of accepting bribe from the leader of the ruling faction of AIADMK in Tamil Nadu to extend undue favours to her.

Moudgil, who inspected the jail on July 10, also said in the letter to director general of police (prisons) Rao that a separate kitchen has been set up for Sasikala. Rao has denied the charges and accused Moudgil of “gross insubordination”.

Stalin said the AIADMK has shown it can bribe the Election Commission, voters of Tamil Nadu and think that they can buy everything with money. “Now we are hearing of problems from within the jail,” he said.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday ordered a probe into the allegations.

The DMK has been targeting Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK at every available opportunity, challenging the validity of the February 18 trust vote, during which MLAs were allegedly paid huge payoffs.

Stalin also used the occasion to lash out against the government for its failure to give protection to Sekhar Reddy, the businessmen out on bail in another corruption case.

M Foi Pandiarajan, former education minister and rival O Panneerselvam camp follower, said “these are the reasons (corruption) for which we broke out of the party”. “They seem to think that they can buy anything with money,” he said adding “truth has now come out from the high-security jail.”

Sasikala was allowed many perks not available to ordinary prisoners, he said, and questioned how she was allowed to hold several meetings inside the jail that went on for hours.

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Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambi Durai is also said to have flouted the rules to meet Sasikala, alleged another OPS camp follower.

“Charges are levelled by senior officials, which will have a lot of implications. The Karnataka government must take appropriate action,” AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan said.

Even as the opposition was gunning for the government, chief minister E Palanisami and finance minister D Jayakumar evaded questions and Sasikala’s nephew and deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran met followers to discuss the emerging situation.

The brand-new corruption charge, of bribe for perks in jail, comes at a time when Sasikala’s review petition is about to come up in the Supreme Court.

The top court in February found Sasikala guilty of accumulating assets through illegal means, cutting short her dash for the top job in Tamil Nadu following the death of chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.

A close aide of Jayalalithaa for 30 years, Sasikala surrendered on February 15 to serve the four-year sentence.

The trial in the corruption case, in which Jayalalithaa was also an accused, was moved to the neighbouring state of Karnataka to ensure free and fair proceedings.

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 15:33 IST