Sentencing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha to four years in jail and imposing a fine of Rs 100 crore for charges of abuse of power and amassing immense wealth during her tenure, had turned the state upside down.
The verdict sent shock waves across the state with her followers committing suicide, dying of cardiac arrests and burning themselves down. The Special Judge at the Bangalore Court, John Michael Cunha convicted the 66-year old Jayalalitha, the general secretary of the AIADMK, in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case after 18 long years of legal battle. She has also been denied private medical treatment and the Court ordered confiscation of all seized properties. Jayalalitha’s close aide, Sasikala and her relatives V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Illavarasi were also found guilty by the Special Court. The verdict led to massive protests all over the state with the supporters destroying the public properties, burning down the cutouts and dummies of the Special Judge and calling on hartals. Some private management has even shut down their schools expressing solidarity with Jayalalitha. Tradesmen, manufacturers, bus owners and cable operators have also been reportedly compelled to join the demonstrations. The DMK and the CPM have strongly denounced their acts. The chaos in Tamil Nadu is likely to affect Karnataka as well as the former three times Chief Minister with prisoner number 7402 is currently imprisoned in Parapanna Agrahara Central prison in Bangalore.
During her first tenure as the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa had announced that she would take just Re.1 as her salary. Her assets which were around Rs 2 crore in 1991, had grown to Rs 66 crore during 1991-1996. The disproportionate assets case which was filed in 1996 by the then DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi, saw several twists and turns during its course. Jayalalitha, known for her spirit to fight back, had made efforts to hinder and delay the judicial process at every stage. The case was transferred to Bangalore's Special Court in 2003 by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by DMK leader K. Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts over conduct of fair trial in Tamil Nadu.
The judiciary has upheld the principles of justice and fairness reinforcing people’s trust in the law. It is the same for all the citizens including people in high public office. The power and wealth should be used for the benefit of the people who elect their representatives to power. Jayalalitha, a perfect epitome of corruption and abuse of power, has stepped down finally after an honestly and thoroughly investigated court case led by an unbiased Judge. The ordinary citizens should come out of blind mobocracy and think logically and sensibly because the progress of the state partially depends on them too.