It looks like a scene straight out of Mario Puzo’s ‘God Father’. But unlike the Sicilian Mafia’s operations where muscle men are used to finish-off enemies, Amma’s uses the state machinery to silence her ‘friend turned foes’.
Jayalalitha appears to be determined to decimate her enemies and emerge victorious in the battle between her and her erstwhile confidantes. Like the Don Vito Coreleone Jayalalitha is systematically eliminating her enemies one by one. Exactly like the Sicilian Mafia who don’t take kindly to treacheries, Jayalalitha too is not taking the treacherous acts of her former confidante Sasikala lightly.
But, before annihilating her treacherous friends, Jayalalitha also want to ensure that they don’t turn their back in the assets case against her in the Bengaluru Special Court which has entered its crucial stages and the outcome of this case is something that will determine her political future.
The case against Jayalalitha is that she was in possession of assets disproportionate to her known sources of income to the tune of Rs.66.5 crores between the period 1991 to 1996 when she was Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. While Jayalaitha is A.1 in this case, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudakaran are the remaining accused. The case which went through a maze of legal hurdles is about to reach its finality in the Bengaluru Special Court. The trial which was continuing in Chennai was transferred to a Special Court in Bengaluru following the order of the Supreme Court on a petition filed by DMK General Secretary K.Anbalagan.
The case which went to trial in 1997 hit as many roadblocks as possible – courtesy the influential people in the case. After 15 long years, while the case is reaching its finality, it appears that Amma and her well wishers are pulling strings to wriggle out of the only noose dangling around Jaya's neck.
While Jayalalitha’s turn to answer the court’s questions under Section 313 Cr.P.C. is completed, it is now the turn of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudakaran to answer the questions. While the trial has reached a crucial stage, the defense so far mounted by Jayalalitha in the assets case has become very complex. While Jayalalitha holds a substantial part of the 66.65 crores of assets, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudakaran hold sizeable assets in their name, which the DVAC has charged as benami properties of Jayalalitha.
Following the expulsion of the MM cartel members from Jaya’s poes garden residence, things have become very complicated for Amma in the assets case. If the Judge of the Bengaluru Special Court asks a simple question whether you bought the properties on behalf of Jayalalitha, and Sasikala nods her head it will all be over for Jayalalitha. Jayalalitha’s life and career now depends on the answer of Sasikala and others for the questions under Section 313 Cr. P.C, since Jayalalitha is the only public servant in the case and Prevention of Corruption Act concentrates only on public servants.
So what is the Amma's gameplan ? Whispers doing rounds in Tamil Nadu's political circles is that Amma has resorted to the age old plan of the Sicilian Mafia – Threaten the family of the witnesses.
Ever since the exit of MM cartel from Amma’s household, rumours were agog about the impending arrest and incarceration of the members of MM cartel. The choice of the MM cartel members who are first to face men in Khakhi reveals a lot about the game plan of Amma. Amma chose Ravanan and Diwakaran, to administer the threat as the duo are emotionally closest to Sasikala. Diwakaran is Sasikala’s youngest brother, and Ravanan is Sasikala’s uncle’s son-in-law. While Diwakaran is emotionally very close to Sasikala he being the last of the sibling, Ravanan commanded tremendous respect with Sasikala as he refused to re-marry following the early death of his wife and raised his son alone.
So, Amma decided to hit Sasikala, where it hurts the most and thus convey a stern message. Either my-way or Highway. Whispers doing rounds in Khakhi circles is that Amma has instructed the police to pick up Diwakaran and Ravanan and ensure that they remain behind bars.
Both Diwakaran and Ravanan were slapped with a couple of cases. The first case against Diwakaran is that was instrumental in the demolition of the house of one Kasthuri of Rishiyur Village, Needamangalam. Kasthuri had alleged that Diwakaran was behind the demolition and Diwakaran intimidated her.
The second case registered against Diwakaran is based on a complaint by one Saravanan of Edaiyur. He had alleged in his complaint that Diwakaran had threatened and obtained Rs.1 lakh at knife point.
On the other hand, the cases registered against Ravanan are the height of absurdity. Based on the complaint of one Ravikumar, a contractor at Sirumugai in the Coimbatore that he was abducted by him in October last year and Rs.10 lakh was sought as ransom for his release and to continue his business a case was registered and Ravanan was arrested.
Ravanan was arrested in the second case last week by the Chennai City Police. The complainant, R Krishna moorthy, managing director of RK Imay Property Developers, had alleged that he had paid the sum for getting a sand quarry license in Karur but neither he got the license nor Ravanan repaid the amount. Ravanan and two others had threatened the petitioner with dire consequences. The complainant in the second case against Ravanan is one Krishnamoorthy @ Mannarai Moorthy. This Krishnamoorthy is an accused in three cheating cases at the Thiruppur Central Crime Branch. The Thiruppur Central Crime Branch has registered three cases against Krishnamurthy in Cr. No. 12/2009, Cr. No. 26/2008 and in Cr. No.1/2011. Interestingly in one of the cases, Krishnamurthy is the co-accused along with Lottery Baron San Diego Martin.
The police never bothered to interrogate either Diwakaran or Ravanan say insiders. Though the Tamil bi-weeklies invariably carry stories planted by the police that both Ravanan and Diwakaran had been giving out details about their collection spree, sources tell whispers in Tamil Nadu that the police were clueless on what to ask to the duo. Even during the custodial interrogation of Ravanan by Chennai City Police, not even a single question was posed to Ravanan.
Ravanan and Diwakaran are the first pawns in Amma’s dangerous game of deceit. Unlike Diwakaran and Ravanan, Jaya and her well wishers’ diabolic designs failed to work in the case of Special Public Prosecutor B.V.Acharya. The Supreme Court while transferring the trial from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka ordered that “The State of Karnataka in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka shall appoint a senior lawyer having experience in criminal trials as public prosecutor to conduct these cases.” Acharya, who was the Advocate General of the Karnataka government is considered as one of the best legal brains in Karnataka was the Advocate General of Karnataka during the chief ministership of Veerendra Patil, Veerappa Moily and even during President’s rule.
Now with B V Acharya, throwing a bombshell by saying he was pressurized to quit as Special Public Prosecutor from Jaya's assets case. Once again the entire focus is shifted on Jaya's DA case. The DMK is closely monitoring each and every development and chalking out strategies to ensure that the case moves in the right direction.
Acharya who resigned from the post of Advocate General of Karnataka said, “For some time, there has been terrible pressure on me to resign from the position of SPP, and I have been resisting it. The State government was apparently under pressure from its central leadership [BJP] that I should quit from the position of SPP in the case against Ms. Jayalalithaa. I was appointed SPP in the case against Ms. Jayalalithaa on the recommendation of the then Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. The direction for appointment of senior counsel as SPP was given by the Supreme Court while transferring the trial of the disproportionate assets case to Karnataka from Tamil Nadu. I am not willing to give up the responsibility of SPP as I was chosen for that assignment by the then Chief Justice.” Both the DMK and the Congress were quick to term pressure on Acharya as ‘quid-pro-quo’ between AIADMK and BJP.
Whispers doing rounds in political circles across the country is that, Jayalalitha, who is found hobnobbing with the saffron brigade for quite sometime has apparently pulled her strings with the BJP leadership, albeit maintaining an equidistance from both BJP and Congress. Now, Acharya’s revelations has stripped the mask from the BJP which is putting up a brave face as ‘crusader against corruption’. The candid admission by Acharya that BJP top leadership had pressurized him to resign from the post of Special Public Prosecutor naturally explains Amma’s continuous tirade against the Congress. Whispers doing rounds is that now things have gone to a level where even the BJP will not be in a position to help Jaya.
With the move of Jaya and her well wishers to remove Special Public Prosecutor Acharya having miserably backfired, whether the enigmatic sphinx of Tamil Nadu has any other ace up her sleeve, remains to be seen.