Sasikala as TN CM: Will these two cases stand in her way?

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Chennai, Feb 7: The journey to the chief minister's office will be anything, but easy for Sasikala Natarajan. First, the Supreme Court is likely to deliver the verdict in the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala by next week. Another petition sought a stay on Sasikala's swearing-in as the CM of Tamil Nadu, as the judgement in the DA case is likely to be pronounced by the apex court soon.

There are several grounds raised by the petitioner, Senthil Kumar, general secretary of a non-governmental organisation, Satta Panchayat Iyakkam. Kumar, who will argue the petition in person on Tuesday, says that in the event of a conviction, Sasikala will be forced to resign. Such kind of a situation is likely to cause riots in the southern state, he adds.

Sasikala Natarajan

"The state is already facing a desperate situation due to the death of former CM Jayalalithaa, cyclone and demonetisation. If Sasikala is convicted, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam workers are likely to disturb peace and the state cannot afford such a situation," Kumar says in his petition.

The DA case

Earlier, Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, were convicted in the DA case by a trial court in Bengaluru. The Karnataka high court, however, reversed the order, while acquitting all four of them following which an appeal is pending in the SC.

The main question is that as the case falls under the Prevention of Corruption Act, will it apply to Sasikala, who is still not a public servant. Former judge of the SC Justice Santosh Hegde says that the PC act cannot be applied to a private individual. The act was earlier applicable to Sasikala as Jayalalithaa, the main accused in the case, was then a public servant.

The charges of abetment and conspiracy against Sasikala will stand if the SC finds her guilty. Legal experts state that Sections 8 and 12 of the PC Act will be applicable provided she is held guilty by the apex court.

Since this case is at the appeal stage not much is likely to change. If the SC will uphold the verdict of the trial court then the sentencing of Jayalalithaa alone will change, considering the former CM is no more. The verdict for the rest of them will remain the same.

What the PC act says about private individual

The two sections -- 8 and 12 -- of the PC Act deal with a private individual. The section 8 of the PC act deals with taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant. The act says, whoever accepts or obtains or agrees to accept from any person, for himself or any other person by inducing a public servant shall be punished with a jail term of not less than six months, but which may extend up to five years.

The section 12 of PC Act prescribes the punishment for abetting an offence. The punishment prescribed under this section is same as the ones stated under Section 8 of the act.

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