After Sasikala, her cellmate also tests Covid positive


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Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's close aide V. K. Sasikala's prison cellmate and sister-in-law, J. Ilavarasi has also tested Covid-19 positive. She has been admitted to Victoria Hospital, the prison authorities said here on Saturday.

Ilavarasi is undergoing treatment at Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru, where Sasikala has been admitted since Thursday.

Sasikala and Ilavarasi have been lodged at the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru since February 2017 after the Supreme Court upheld their conviction in a disproportionate assets case. The two along with another relative Sudhakaran were sentenced to four years in jail.

Both Sasikala and Ilavarasi are scheduled to be released on January 27.

On Thursday night expelled AIADMK leader Sasikala tested positive for Covid and according to prison officials, Ilavarasi was tested for Covid-19 on Friday.

The Victoria Hospital in its health bulletin released to the media on Friday night stated that Sasikala's condition was stable and she was comfortable besides being conscious and well oriented.

After Ilavarasi tested positive, she was given initial treatment at the prison hospital before being shifted to Victoria Hospital.

"Both Sasikala and Ilavarasi were sharing a cell, there were no other occupants. As a precautionary measure, we also tested a couple of officials who had accompanied Sasikala while shifting her to Bowring on Wednesday. They underwent tests which came out negative," prison officials said.

Sasikala was reportedly unwell for about a week before being admitted to Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital by the prison doctors with a diagnosis of type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypothyroidism, urinary tract infection (UTI) and suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).

The 63-year-old Sasikala is serving her prison term in a disproportionate assets case. The case pertains to the amassing of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during J Jayalalithaa's tenure as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 1991-1996.

In September 2013, a special court sentenced Jayalalithaa to simple imprisonment of four years. She was slapped with a Rs 100 crore fine and forced to step down as the CM. The three co-accused V. K. Sasikala, V. N. Sudhakaran, and J. Ilavarasi were also convicted. They were fined Rs 10 crore each.

Jayalalithaa challenged the conviction in the Karnataka High Court, which acquitted her of all charges. But, in 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the special court verdict convicting all four of them. Charges against Jayalalithaa were abated in view of her death on December 5, 2016.

Soon after Jayalalithaa's death, Sasikala, who is also known as Chinnamma, took over the reins of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in December 2016, but was later expelled from the party by the Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami-led camp.

She again came into the limelight in late November 2019, when the Income Tax department had reportedly attached benami properties valued at Rs 1,600 crore allegedly belonging to her under the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act. It is further alleged that nine properties, located in Chennai, Puducherry and Coimbatore, were purchased soon after demonetisation.

Source: IANS

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