Sasikala expels Panneerselvam from AIADMK, Palanisamy to be new AIADMK general secretary
With All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) general secretary V.K. Sasikala standing disqualified to take over as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the party leadership has appointed Edapadi K. Palanisamy as the new general secretary. Caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has been expelled from the party.
As an aftermath to this development, Palanisamy can meet the TN Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao and stake the claim to form the government in the state.
The political stalemate in the state, however, looks far from getting resolved as this would leave chances of a toss up between Palanisamy and Panneerselvam, if the governor asks for proof of majority in the assembly.
Earlier in the day, Sasikala suffered a major jolt after the Supreme Court upheld the trial court'sjudgement convicting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case against her.
Supreme Court convicts VK Sasikala in DA case
In a major blow to the AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, Supreme Court on 14 February convicted her in the Disproportionate Assets case. Late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa was also an accused in the 19-year-old case.
The top court has set aside Karnataka High Court's order and awarded Sasikala a jail term of 4 years following which she will not be able to become the state chief minister.
The verdict has come in the backdrop of the ongoing power struggle within the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu between Ms Sasikala and the caretaker chief minister O.Panneerselvam.
The pending disproportionate assets case that posed a legal hurdle against Sasikala's taking over as the chief minister, dates back to 1996. Late J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her two relatives, Ilavarasi and Sudhagaran, were convicted in the case that alleged that the former chief minister owned assets far exceeding her known sources of income.
Sasikala cannot aspire to become Chief Minister now, say legal experts
After the Supreme Court on Tuesday convicted All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) V.K. Sasikala in connection with the disproportionate assets case, legal experts opined that the former now cannot aspire to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Senior advocate Ashwani Kumar said, "I don't think Sasikala can aspire to become the chief minister after the conviction order pronounced by the highest court of the country. This order is not subject to appeal as it is the final order. Sasikala cannot be a sworn in as chief minister."
Kumar further said the impact of this verdict will be seen on the AIADMK politics.
"The primary need is to make the government in Tamil Nadu. Majority floor test is the only way to see who will be the chief minister," he added.
B.V. Acharya, special public prosecutor in the case against Sasikala, has expressed his happiness after the apex court upheld the trial court's judgment convicting her in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case.
"I can only say that justice has been done in this case and it shows that in our country judiciary is independent and powerful. Therefore, even an accused who is very powerful both in terms of money and power cannot escape the clutches of law. Sasikala cannot hold an elective post for next 10 years because four years in imprisonment and thereafter the disqualification continues for another six years," he said.
Constitutional expert P.P. Rao said, "Sasikala cannot contest for six years after her four-year sentence. So for 10 years, her political career is obliterated."
3 soldiers, 1 militant killed in encounter in north Kashmir
Three soldiers and a militant were today killed in an encounter in Hajin area of Bandipora district of Kashmir, police said.
Six other security personnel and a civilian also suffered injuries in the gunbattle that began in the wee hours today, a police official said.
Security forces cordoned off Parray Mohalla in Hajin area this morning following information about presence of militants there, the official said.
He said a gunbattle broke out as the security forces were closing in on the position of the militants.
Nine security personnel were injured in the exchange of firing with the militants out of which three later succumbed to injuries, the official said.
One militant, whose identity has not been ascertained yet, was also killed in the operation, he added.
Congress urges Election Commission to initiate action against Kiren Rijiju
The Congress on Tuesday urged the Election Commission to take note of Minister of State Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju's tweet about depleting Hindu population in Arunachal Pradesh, and initiate action against the minister for violating the moral code of conduct.
Congress leader P.C Chacko dubbed Rijiju's statement as clear violation of moral code of conduct.
"This is a clear violation of moral code of conduct, when many states are going for poll in India. The statement goes against the orders issue by the Election Commission. The Election Commission should immediately seek a clarification from the minister," Chacko told ANI here.
Echoing similar sentiments another Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that Rijiju has made such a statement in the wake of Uttar Pradesh elections to polarize votes.