VK Sasikala Slept On The Floor In Bengaluru Jail Cell

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Bengaluru: VK Sasikala slept on the floor of her prison cell on the first night of a four-year jail term in Bengaluru as prisoner number 9234, without any of the facilities she had requested. She was convicted of corruption on Tuesday and ordered by the Supreme Court to surrender “immediately”.

The 61-year-old chief of Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK is sharing a cell with two other women, none of them her sister-in-law Ilavarasi, who was also convicted by the Supreme Court. A decision on providing her a cot to sleep on will be taken by doctors today.

Jail officials say this morning Ms Sasikala had tamarind rice with chutney, a south Indian breakfast favourite. She also “meditated for a few minutes”.

Last evening, moments after walking into the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail on the outskirts of Bengaluru in a rust sari, Ms Sasikala asked a judge for a Class 1 cell citing her health problems including diabetes.

Such a cell comes with privileges like a private television, home-cooked food and non-vegetarian meals twice a week and a fan. The request was denied. She had also asked for space to meditate and round-the-clock medical help if needed.

“There will not be any special privileges for Sasikala. At the most she will be counseled so she can adjust to the jail,” an official said yesterday.

Reports suggested that she has been assigned candle-making in jail, but officials say it is too early.

Ms Sasikala had spent three weeks in the same prison in 2014, along with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was Accused No 1 in the case. Much has changed since then. Ms Jayalalithaa died on December 5. There are hardly any AIADMK workers outside the prison, unlike the previous time.

Ms Sasikala, who took charge of the ruling AIADMK days later, brought about some vital changes to secure her hold over the ruling party in the past two days. She picked loyalist E Palanisamy for Chief Ministerial candidate, and brought back two nephews who had been expelled by Jayalalithaa in 2011.

Sources say in jail, Ms Sasikala has been eager for updates on political developments in Chennai, where Governor C Vidyasagar Rao may soon announce his decision on Chief Minister.