Sasikala tests positive for Covid days before release from prison
Chennai and Bengaluru: VK Sasikala, the jailed associate of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday at a Bengaluru hospital, six days before she is to be released from prison.
“She tested positive for Covid-19 but there are no other complications and her oxygen saturation is around 98% with about 10 litres of oxygen. There is a lung infection,” Dr K.Ramesh Krishna, medical superintendent at Victoria Hospital, said on Thursday.
He said that doctors would decide when she would be discharged, but added that treatment it could take as long as a week or 10 days.
Sasikala had tested negative on Wednesday when she was taken to Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru after complaining of breathlessness and fever.
Sasikala, 63, is due to be released from Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara prison on January 27 after serving a four-year term following her conviction for amassing assets disproportionate to her income. She will be released months before assembly elections are held in Tamil Nadu.
Sasikala’s nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) chief TTV Dhinakaran reached Bengaluru on Thursday morning and met her for a few minutes when she was being shifted from Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute to Victoria Hospital for treatment.
“She is looking good. Two of our relatives who are doctors have also met her,” Dhinakaran told reporters outside the hospital.
Whether Dhinakaran returns to Chennai or stays back in Bengaluru depends on Sasikala’s health, said a person close to him on condition of anonymity.
The expelled All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader has comorbidities of hypertension, diabetes and hypothyroidism.
On Tuesday, after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Tamil Nadu chief minister and ruling AIADMK coordinator Edapaddi Palaniswami ruled out inducting Sasikala into his party.
Although Sasikala appointed Palaniswami to be chief minister, he subsequently joined hands with the man he replaced, O Paneerselvam, Jayalalithaa’s deputy; the party expelled Sasikala and Dhinakaran in 2017. Dhinakaran, an independent MLA, started the AMMK and won a 4% vote share in the 2019 parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu.
Palaniswami will also inaugurate a memorial to Jayalalithaa in Chennai on January 27--the day Sasikala is expected to walk out of prison. The Rs. 79-crore memorial is located at Chennai’s Marina beach.
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