The Tamil Nadu government’s hurried confiscation of the assets of Sasikala’s relatives Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, just on the eve of the expelled AIADMK’s leader’s arrival in Chennai, is being read as a step to destabilise her finally and cripple her political return.
The confiscated assets are six properties belonging to Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, including a building at Wallace Garden in Thousand Lights, Chennai.
On February 8, the government also took possession of the land owned by the duo at Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram. These are around 16 acres of land, owned in the name of Signora Business Enterprises Private Limited in Chengalpattu and about 142 acres of land registered under Meadow Agro Farms Private Limited in Kanchipuram. The combined worth of these assets would be more than ₹300 crore.
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The government did not stop there. It also confiscated assets in Thanjavur and Thoothukkudi, on February 9. While in Thanjavur, the government confiscated three assets measuring 26,540 sqft, in the latter the district authorities took possession of 23 properties spread over nearly 1,100 acres.
Incidentally, the government confiscated the properties only now, even though the order for the same by the Supreme Court was passed in 2017 in the Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case.
Political watchers say, while the AIADMK-led government had not initiated confiscation of properties of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala, who were convicted in the case, what goaded it to act was the rousing reception given to Sasikala on her return to Chennai on February 9. Adding insult to injury, Sasikala proudly flaunted the AIADMK flag on her car, and promised to return to politics soon.
Speaking to her followers, she said she would budge only for love and not for power.
It is being speculated that the government may confiscate more assets of Sasikala to financially weaken her and stall her political return.
Political experts, however, say it may do little to destabilise her financially.
“The government can only confiscate assets of Sasikala that have been listed out by the Supreme Court,” said Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Chennai-based organisation Arappor. In 2017, the organisation has exposed how Sasikala and her kin encroached upon public properties at Siruthavur in Kanchipuram.
While Venkatesan alleged that no action was taken on their expose by law enforcement authorities on their expose, the said asset finds no mention in the Supreme Court’s order.
By that way, Venkatesan said, Jayalalithaa’s favourite property in Kodanad too cannot be confiscated.
“However, if there is any government land had been encroached by them, it can be retrieved and diverted for some other purpose. But for water bodies, the government cannot divert it for other projects. They should maintain the water resources properly for the people’s wellbeing of neighbouring areas,” he added.
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Talking to The Federal, a supporter of Sasikala and functionary of AMMK, the political party founded by her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, said she will answer for these actions at the right time.
“She plans to hold a press conference soon and will give her opinion on the confiscation of assets,” the functionary said.