Wearing a dark kurta, politician VK Sasikala enters the jail in Bengaluru where she is serving four years for corruption on the orders of the Supreme Court. The video has been offered as proof that Ms Sasikala gets special treatment as a prisoner according to a police officer who has alleged that nearly 2 crores of bribes paid by the politician allow her illegitimate privileges including special meals, the ability to leave prison, and a cell kitted out with a flat-screen TV.
D Roopa was transferred after she made those accusations in July from a position that saw her supervising jails to handling road traffic in the capital of Karnataka.
She has submitted the security camera footage as part of an anti-corruption investigation commissioned by the state on the basis of her complaints.
The footage shows Ms Sasikala carrying a bag and re-entering the main gate of the Bengaluru jail accompanied by male guards, impelling speculation about whether she had been allowed to leave the prison’s premises altogether.
Ms Sasikala is likely to be expelled today from Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the AIADMK, of which she took charge after the death in December of J Jayalalithaa, with whom she lived for decades in Chennai. Ms Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister when she died after a prolonged hospital stay; after her death, the AIADMK, which followed her lead blindly for nearly 20 years, broke into two camps which are attempting a merger today.
The factions were forged over who would be Chief Minister after Ms Jayalalithaa’s death. O Panneerselvam, who regularly subbed for her when she was alive, was first named her replacement, but Ms Sasikala soon moved to take over the state herself. However, the Supreme Court then found Ms Jayalalithaa and her guilty of a decades-old corruption case, and ordered her to prison. Before her incarceration in neighbouring Karnataka, she chose loyalist E Palaniswami to take over as Chief Minister.
Since then, a third camp has been created in the party- one headed by Ms Sasikala’s nephew, TTV Dhinakaran, who is named in a jumble of corruption cases.
Mr Panneerselvam’s faction of about 10 legislators- enough to make a difference in a trust vote -want Ms Sasikala and Mr Dhinakaran expelled from the party before they reunite with Mr Palaniswami’s larger group.
A merger is expected today, though similar talk on Friday proved anti-climactic.