Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s former aide Sasikala’s brother Diwakaran was today arrested in Tiruvarur district for allegedly demolishing a woman’s house in Rishiyur village. The Madras High Court has dismissed his anticipatory bail.
Diwakaran’s arrest comes days after the Chief Minister expelled Sasikala Natarajan and 11 of her relatives from her party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). No reason was officially given for the drastic step. The move was, however, seen by many as an attempt by Jayalalithaa to nip in the bud reported moves by Sasikala’s family to dominate her party and influence the AIADMK government. Those who were handed the pink slip included Sasikala’s husband, Natarajan and her nephew and former MP T T V Dinakaran.
Sasikala has for long served as Jayalalithaa’s companion. She is also one of the main accused in a case that alleges that the Chief Minister misused her office from 1991-1996 to collect assets worth 66 crores that cannot be accounted for. That case is being tried by a Bangalore court to ensure a fair trial. Jayalalithaa objected to being summoned by that court, but was ordered by the Supreme Court to appear in person to answer questions. Sasikala travelled with her for those hearings in a special plane from Chennai.
For three decades, Sasikala was acknowledged as a power centre in the AIADMK because of her proximity to Jayalalithaa. Insiders say that her opinions counted towards the selection of ministers and party candidates.
In 1996, when Jayalalithaa was beleaguered by a slew of corruption charges, she had a brief falling out with Sasikala, who belongs to the strong Thevar community, traditionally AIADMK loyalists.