Dr. J. Jayalalithaa
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
J Jayalalithaa was one of India's best-loved and revered politicians. She also had a dictatorial streak and acquired property and other assets that were totally disproportionate to her known sources of income.
Here are some lesser-known details about her life:
Born in Karnataka on February 2, 1948, into an Iyengar family, she was first named Komalavalli after her grandmother –– and later given her official name, Jayalalithaa. She moved to Chennai in the 1950s to live with her mother, who was an actress. --A shy young girl, Jayalalithaa had been a topper at the Bishop Cotton Girl’s High School in Bengaluru and at the Church Park Presentation Convent in Chennai.Though her family was prosperous when Jayalalithaa was a child, things changed later on. To support the family, her mother took up acting as a profession, and young Jaya also joined her as a 16-year-old. (T E Narasimhan & Gireesh Babu | Chennai December 6, 2016, Business Standard, How Komalavalli became the 'Iron Lady' of Tamil Nadu)
1. Jayalalithaa followed in her mother's footsteps, first as a child actor. At the age of 15, she played a leading role in the Kannada film Chinnada Gombe, which became a runaway success, like her debut Tamil movie Vennira Aadai (1965). She acted in one English film (Epistle).
2. Jayalalithaa is professionally trained in classical music, western classical piano, and various forms of classical dance, including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri and Kathak.
3. Jayalalithaa may now be referred to as Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) but she is called 'Ammu' by close family members and co-stars.
4. The first time she starred alongside M G Ramachandran, one of Tamil Nadu's greatest movie stars and a former chief minister of the state, was in the Tamil film 'Aayirathil Oruvan.' (One in a Thousand)
5. She starred in one Hindi film, Izzat, opposite Bollywood superstar Dharmendra in 1968.
6. The peak of Jayalalithaa's film career occurred between 1965 and 1980. During this period, she was one of India's highest-paid actresses, and acted in over 140 films, 120 of which were blockbusters.
7. It is said that her male co-stars did not object when the film's story revolved around and was driven by the female character played by Jayalalithaa.
8. During the 1960s and 1970s, she starred opposite M G Ramachandran in a number of successful films. This forged a bond between the two, which led MGR to introduce her to politics when he was chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa joined MGR's All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1982, and was appointed the party's propaganda secretary the following year.
9. She represented the AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha between 1984 and 1989. She was elected after MGR wanted her in New Delhi for her fluency in English and knowledge of several languages.
10. When Ramachandran became unwell in 1984, it is said that Jayalalithaa attempted to take over the position of chief minister. This led to a split in the party: one faction backed Ramachandran's wife Janaki, while the other supported Jaya as his political heir.
After MGR passed away in 1987, his party split into two factions - one behind Jayalalithaa, and the other behind MGR's widow, Janaki Ramachandran. Janaki stepped aside after Jayalalithaa's faction won 27 seats in the 1989 Assembly election - 25 more than Janaki's.
11. In 1989, Jayalaltihaa was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. She became the first woman to be appointed Leader of the Opposition. In the same year, the two factions of AIADMK merged and unanimously accepted Jayalalithaa as their leader.
12. During her term as Leader of the Opposition, DMK MLAs molested Jayalalithaa and nearly disrobed her while the house was in session. Media coverage of her emerging from the assembly in a torn saree, and her own comparison of the ordeal to Draupadi's cheerharan, won immense sympathy from the public.
13. In 1991, Jayalalithaa became the first female(and the youngest) chief minister of Tamil Nadu to serve a full term.
14. The obscenely lavish wedding of Jayalalithaa's 'foster son' Sudhagaran (whom she later disowned) holds the record for being the largest wedding banquet (incurring taxpayers a massive Rs 10 crore bill), attended by over 1,50,000 guests.
15. Unfortunately, the feat which won her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records proved to be her downfall in the 1996 elections.
16. Jayalalithaa returned to power in 2001, but her second term as chief minister was cut short when the Supreme Court ruled that she could not hold office while criminal cases were pending against her. She had been convicted on corruption charges in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case, though she was later acquitted and was reinstated as CM in 2003.
17. Jayalalithaa was sworn in as chief minister for the third time in 2011. But in 2014, she was sentenced to four years in jail in a disproportionate assets case. As a result, she became the first Indian chief minister to be disqualified from her post and the legislative assembly. She was granted bail after about a month in jail
18. In 2015, she was acquitted of all charges in the disproportionate assets case. Amma returned as chief minister following a landslide victory in the by-election.
19. The AIADMK leader again contested the elections in 2016 and became the first chief minister in 32 years to be voted back to power.
20. According to reports, Jayalalithaa drew a salary of just one rupee for her job as chief minister.
Jayalalithaa liked visiting Hyderabad, although she almost completely stopped making trips to the city during her last decade or so.
Childhood and teens
The Times of India, May 20, 2016
Girl who introduced friends to Alistair MacLean
For the rest of Tamil Nadu, she's Amma. But, for her classmates Srimathi and Chandini, she's still Jaya -good friend, class topper.
“Even though this is the sixth time she is becoming CM, it's hard to digest it's the same girl we knew, the girl who came first in class, the one who introduced us to Alistair Maclean, the world of Hindi movies and sketching,“ says Srimathi Iyengar about AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, her classmate in Sacred Heart Church Park Convent.
Srimathi adds that Jayalalithaa had one of the most enviable home libraries at the time. “She had a room in her house that had wall-to-floor cupboards filled with books of every kind. She was also the only one among us who knew Hindi, so she would take us to the movies and translate the dialogues verbatim,“ says Srimathi.
As for the sketching, it was a passion of Jayalalithaa's, and classmates would see her drawing whenever she had a free moment.
It was Srimathi's father, a film photographer named `Stills' Chari, who shot Jayalalithaa's first portfolio for Radha Silk Emporium, her introduction into the world of advertising and movies.That portfolio, says Srimathi, was part of the one she presented to actors and directors in the Tamil film industry, including MG Ramachandran, who was both her co-star and political mentor. Jayalalithaa's decision to become an actress and later join politics surprised several classmates, especially Chandini Pankaj Bhulani.Jayalalithaa, she said, wanted to study and take civil services exam but wouldn't as her mother was insisting she become an actress. “Jaya wasn't happy about it, but if that had not happened, she may never have grown into the most powerful woman in the state.“
A Tamilian with roots in Srirangam
Jayalalithaa had once stated that Srirangam was her native place and she was attached to the place.
During her early days when she was acting in Kannada films, a mob demanded that she declare herself a Kannadiga. But she boldly declared that she was a Tamil.
With roots in Srirangam, Jayalalithaa had said she could call herself a Tamil woman.
TRICHY: J Jayalalithaa had a family connection with Srirangam. She said her grandparents on her mother's side as well as father's side were residents of Srirangam and had relocated to Karnataka. She had once stated that Srirangam was her native place and she was attached to the place. With roots in Srirangam, she said she could call herself a Tamil woman, fiercely proud of her Tamil ethnicity.
During her early days when she was acting in Kannada films+ , a mob demanded that she declare herself a Kannadiga. But even at that time, she boldly declared that she was a Tamil, according to the book, "Amma: Jayalalithaa's journey from movie star to political queen", written by Vaasanthi.
From 1971 to 2006, from the time M G Ramachandran launched the AIADMK, except in 1989 and 1996, Srirangam sent only AIADMK candidates to the assembly. The highest percentage the party scored was 70.6%. This was in 1991 when there was a wave for Jayalalithaa+ .
"She did a lot for the upliftment of women community through the social welfare department. No one can overtake her. From the first time I saw her during the 2011 election, I couldn't forget his smiling face", said L Suseela, resident of Sethurapatti village in Srirangam segment.
Family ties missing
According to Vaasanthi's biography, young Jayalalithaa was upset that her mother had no time for her. Jayalalithaa's classmates speak of her sadness that no one from her family came to see her get prizes in school. She was a brilliant student, an avid reader, and called the queen of knowledge.
She was Amma to millions.
But Jayalalithaa had no family by her bedside in hospital for more than two months. Deepa, the daughter of Jayalalithaa's brother, Jayakumar, had tried to meet her but was turned away by police.“We'll get back to you,“ they told her when she explained who she was. But they never did.
In October 2014 too, Deepa and her husband Madhavan had made a futile attempt to see how her aunt was doing on her return from the Bangalore jail.The couple stood among cadres braving the rain to greet the AIADMK leader, and later kept vigil for hours on a pavement near Jayalalithaa's residence.
“There were hurdles in re aching her and communicating with her. I don't know how these barriers came up,“ said Deepa, who was born at Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence.
Jayalalithaa spent her early years with her grandparents in Mysuru, a time she recalled as carefree and idyllic. Later, she moved to Chennai, but stayed in touch with her mother's family .Her relationship with her extended family deteriorated after she hosted a lavish wedding for her foster son, V N Sudhakaran, in September 1995.
Jayalalithaa's family has rarely been in the limelight.Her mother, Veda, also known as Sandhya, was born in Nel lore in what was then Madras Presidency , and had three sisters and a brother. She moved to Mysuru and married Jayaraman, whose father was the palace surgeon for the Mysore maharaja.
Growing up, Jayalalithaa was very fond of her mother's brother Srinivasan, who she called “cheeni mama“. Her mother's oldest sister, Vidyavathi, an actor and stewardess with British Airways, ran a school for disabled in Bengaluru. She was part of one of Chennai's first drama troupes. Her daughters, Amitha and Jayanthi, live in Australia and the US.
Veda's other sister, Ambuja, and her husband Kannan had no offspring and lived with Jayalalithaa many years ago.The youngest of Veda's sisters, Padmini, who lived with her producer husband Narasimman and their two sons in Bengaluru, died in 2011. “The family meets on occasion. Some of them came for my wedding in November 2012,“ Deepa said.Jayalalithaa wasn't among them, she added.
Deepa studied in the UK, while her brother Deepak did an MBA in the US and now runs his own firm in Chennai. Jayalalithaa visited Deepa's house when her father passed away in 1995, but wasn't at the funeral of her mother, Vijayalakshmi, in January 2013. “I tried hard to maintain the relationship.Maybe she just couldn't find the time,“ said Deepa.
A winner at school, in cinema and politics —and a recluse
The life of J Jayalalithaa has al ways been an open book though full of secrets.
Reserved but resolute, Jayalalithaa was always the star -in school, on screen, or in statecraft. Stories of the studious child, marketable actress and formidable politician are abundant. Brought up by her grandparents in Karnataka for a few years after her father Jayaram's death, she was five when she moved with her mother Veda to Chennai.Veda -by then known in the Tamil film industry by screen name Sandhya -was too busy for the child, according to Jayalalithaa's serialised memoirs, written for a Tamil weekly .
According to writer Vaasanthi's biography of Jayalalithaa, ` Amma', the child was lonely . Jayalalithaa's classmates speak of her sadness that none from her family came to see her win prizes in school, including a best outgoing student shield.
In school, on the one hand, Jayalalithaa was successful academically, consistently topping the class and loved by her teachers; on the other, she was reticent, on guard for the “stigma“ of being an actress' child.
Srimathi Iyengar, her classmate in Sacred Heart Church Park, Chennai, recalls the brighter side of Jayalalithaa's life -her enviable home library and knowledge of cinema.“She was the only one who knew Hindi, so she took us to the movies and translated dialogues,“ she says.
Srimathi recalls that when Jayalalithaa was asked in class what she wanted to be, the answer was always `lawyer' or `IAS officer', definitely a leader, a changemaker.
In 1964, life took a turn when she accompanied her mother to a film event, where producer B R Panthulu was “impressed“ with her beauty . He wanted to sign her for Kannada film `Chinnada Gombe'. After much pres sure, Jayalalithaa accepted when he assured her it would be wrapped up before college. One take led to another and she was offered more roles. Di rector C V Sridhar wanted to cast her for `Vennira Aadai' (1965), and despite throwing a fit, she was forced to sign, forgoing admission to Stella Maris College.
Nirmala, Jayalalithaa's co-star, recalls overhearing Jayalalithaa telling the choreographer she could “will herself to do anything“. Chitralaya Gopu, who wrote the screenplay for `Vennira Aadai', recalls the teenager as “highly royal“. “The moment the camera turned on, she would become the character. But once the lights went off, she would return to her seat and her pile of books. She never liked chatting aimlessly ,“ says Gopu, now 85.
Director C V Rajendran, who worked with Jayalalithaa on several movies, including her debut which was directed by his brother, says though she never “struggled“ in the film industry , she understood struggle. “A light technician did not come to the sets one day because his wife died. She asked for him later and said she would take care of his children's education. And she did it,“ says Rajendran, one of the few directors who paired her with Sivaji Ganesan, the other leading man of the time.“No one dared pair her with a hero other than MGR,“ he says.
It was for ` Aayirathil Oruvan' (1965) that Jayalalithaa was introduced to M G Ramachandran, the “superstar“ of Tamil cinema, 35 years her senior, the man who would become her political mentor, the man to whom she was muse.
In the 1970s, when MGR turned to politics, she began to act with other heroes and even supposedly entered into a relationship with married Telugu actor Shoban Babu, once she was open about but ended abruptly , resulting in Jayalalithaa “retiring“ from films, “shattered“ and a “recluse“. Then, as one stage of her life came to a close, she stepped on to another.
Love for literature
`Ammu' Was Star Pupil At School
A lice in Wonderland?
That's how we felt, my sisters and I, completely dwarfed by the floor-to-ceiling array of books, and a very tall step ladder with a perch on top, standing against one shelf-wall. I heard my oldest sibling whisper to my Dad, “Are these real books?“ I tugged at his sleeve: “Appa, please may I climb the ladder and sit on top?“ Jayalalithaa, then perhaps in her twenties, had ushered us into her brand new home at Poes Gardens, and she was showing us around. My father, Tamil film actor Gemini Ganesan, had asked if he could show the place to his “girls“, especially the library that she had apparently described to him with great passion. The books were indeed `real' and she had an amazing collection of English classics Shakespeare, Dickens, Kingsley, Hardy , Tennyson, Bronte, Wilde, and more. The Dickens collection among a few others was leather-bound, embossed with gold letters.
Which is why I smiled, as I watched Jennifer Arul's interview with Jayalalithaa on NDTV -re-telecast after Amma's death -in which the late CM said, “My dream is to retire to my farm, surround myself with books and read them, listen to music, with my dogs, and perhaps do some agriculture. Far from the madding crowd.“ It wasn't said for effect. She really meant it. And she had read Thomas Hardy .
Jayalalithaa was not always `Amma'. She was called `Ammu' (dearest one) at home, and her mom sent her to the best schools available then, both in Bangalore (Bishop Cottton) and Madras, Presentation Convent, Church Park, where I was in junior school when Jayalalithaa was in her final year, matriculation. Her long, straight hair, that she wore in a single loose plait, would gently swing like a pendulum well below her hips as she walked across the school grounds, the sun catching the lar gish golden hoops she wore in her ears. With her por celain skin, ima peccable manners and dignified gait, Jayalalithaa stole many a heart but the teachers in school loved her for something else -she was their star pupil.
“Do you think you are Jayalalithaa that you can read comics in my class under the desk and still stand first?“ So saying, Miss Edwards, the geography teacher, snatched my comic and threw it aside.That was the kind of reputation Tamil Nadu's Amma had at school -a brilliant student who could walk away effortlessly with flying colours! It's common knowledge now that Jayalalithaa never wanted to become an actress; she never wished to enter politics -yet she made a big name for herself in both.
She once mentioned that she was very keen to study English Literature. Others say she wanted to become a lawyer. Whatever might have been her choice of career, there can be no doubt that she would have stood head and shoulders above others, perhaps far exceeding her performances in both films and politics. and politics.
(The writer was in junior school in Presentation Con vent, then Madras, when J Jayalalithaa was in final year)
Jayalalithaa received an honorary Doctorate (DLitt) from the University of Madras in 1991, which was perhaps the first of her many honorary Doctorates. This is a time honoured tradition in Tamil Nadu politics where some politicians prefix their names with a ‘Dr.’ obtained from an honorary doctorate. (In neighbouring AP we have cinema superstar-turned- politician Dr Chiranjeevi and in Karnataka there was the legendary Dr Rajkumar.)
Change of spelling
An even more widespread tradition in Indian cinema and TV (and Jayalalithaa was a major star in cinema) is to change the English (Roman) spelling of one’s name according to astrological (numerological, actually) advice, especially when things are not going well in one’s life. Therefore, in 2001 Jayalalitha became Jayalalithaa.
On Jun 20, 2001, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE published the following under the heading The Name Game |. It was obviously written by a follower of e.e. cummins and is being reproduced in its original form:
reports on jayalalitha will now have to include an additional `letter'. the first name of the tamil nadu chief minister will now have 12 characters instead of the earlier 11, with an extra `a' at the end. aiadmk sources say the change was made after ms jayalalitha - sorry ms jayalalithaa - performed a yagna to goddess kali at a temple in thanjavur district. the yagna was held late last year but it is only recently that the state information department has requested journalists to use the revised version of the name.
apart from the name change, ms jayalalithaa had also promised to deliver an elephant to the sri krishna temple at guruvayoor if she won this summer's assembly elections. there are no reports yet whether the promise has been made good. however, one thing is certain. ms jayalalithaa is unlikely to have forgotten the promise. all her recent actions emphatically reiterate that, much like an elephant, ms jayalalithaa neither forgets nor forgives.
just the other day, her now-estranged foster son sudhakaran was arrested for allegedly beating up a retainer and for being in possession of items banned under the narcotics & psychotropic substances act. debates about whether a 12-letter jayalalithaa is better than a 11-letter jayalalitha are quite superfluous for they overlook the obvious. unlike the aiadmk supremo, her arch-rival karunanidhi only has 11 letters in his name. needless to mention, his son stalin who trails so far behind in this name game that it is not even funny.
time was when tamil nadu chief ministers were satisfied with receiving honorary doctorates for daily use. dr jayalalithaa has set a new trend by charging her name by other means. the original dravida kazhagam started off by challenging orthodoxy and superstition. its offshoots - first the dmk and then the aiadmk - seem to be going back to square one what with astrology and numerology becoming the order of the day and the opiate of the mass leaders. a quick mental count of other chief ministerial names would suggest that jayalalithaa has the longest name going at present.
numerologically speaking, this should make her a front-runner in any future race to form a coalition government at the centre. the fact that the likes of mulayam singh yadav have once again baulked at the prospect of supporting an italian hand, adds more spirit if not letter to that possibility. all of which suggests that the first lady of fort st george may yet be named the empress of india. jaya hey!
Outlook: The Life And Times Of Jayalalitha
"No one can get anything out of me or subdue me by threats, harsh treatment; it only makes me more stubborn, inflexible, unbending, determined. The only way anyone can get me to cooperate is to be nice to me, pamper me, cajole me, talk to me kin
MISJUDGED, misled, misinterpreted, misunderstood and mismanaged. All this, say her friends, has rendered J. Jayalalitha highly unpredictable, as the BJP found out to its dismay. Personal considerations motivate political actions. Good and bad are differentiated by a mind ridden with angst rooted in a troubled past. Even success does not seem to have healed her victim syndrome. Indeed, neither her allies nor her foes can explain why Jayalalitha projects herself as a victim even when she is cracking the whip.
Says Valampuri John, former MP: "She is a bundle of contradictions. There is a deep-rooted attitudinal problem which can be traced to her past. She perceives all men in her life—her father, MGR, her one-time live-in friend Shoban Babu—as people who failed her. Therefore she seems to have developed a deep distrust of almost everyone." John, who helped Jayalalitha in her formative political years and published a semi-autobiographical novel and two books of essays, stands discarded. He too has joined the ranks of those who once helped the AIADMK chief.
The disenchantment with practically everyone she was close to is reflected in her autobiography published in the Tamil weekly Kumudam in 1978. Her father is presented as a "squanderer and a gentleman of leisure", a man "who could not handle anything properly". MGR is a person who she said she would rather "treat as an equal rather than a superstar". A ‘betrayal’ by a school friend too left a deep impression. Jayalalitha had played postman for this friend who was in love with a neighbour. But "when the girl’s mother discovered what was going on, my friend played Brutus and painted me as a daughter of an actress and a girl of loose morals."
This overwhelming sense of being ‘used’ seems to have influenced the worldview of the otherwise precocious and sensitive girl who dreamed of "becoming a millionaire and a lawyer", collected pictures of Rock Hudson and had a crush on cricketers Nari Contractor and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. "I used to go for matches with binoculars just to look at Pataudi and Pataudi alone," she croons. Her dream world collapsed when her mother Sandhya—also an actress known to MGR—revealed that a "financial crisis in the family" meant that ‘Jay’ would have to give up studies and start acting. Recalls Jayal-alitha: "It was a rude shock to me. My argument with Amma was that it was she who punished me for putting on make-up and told me to stay off cinema who was now pushing me into acting."
So the 16-year-old, instead of going to Stella Maris College, went to the sets of director C.V. Sridhar’s film Vennira Aadai (Widow’s Robe). An ironic title for a woman who never married, although she confesses she never understood "the word platonic" and believed that "either there is a romantic relationship between two people or they are just friends". A loner, Jayalalitha seems to have harboured a distrust for others rather early in life. "The experiences I have been through, the suffering and pain have taught me an important lesson: in life there is one person you must rely on—yourself."
Her former friends have all been abandoned. Cho Ramaswamy, editor of Tughlaq who she fondly describes in her autobiography as a ‘valuable’ friend, was recently admonished publicly and asked "not to describe himself as a friend". Salem Kannan, two-time AIADMK MP who virtually created a political base for her in the party, is now persona non grata. Ministers in MGR’s cabinet and former Jaya loyalists S. Thirunavakkarsu and K.K.S.S.R Ramachandran have been eased out of the party. Says Kannan: "After all that I have done for her, I am deeply hurt at the manner in which she dumped me when I advised her to keep Sasikala and her family at a distance."
Kannan and Valampuri John were privy to her blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with MGR. According to John, MGR was ‘suspicious’ of Jayalalitha and monitored her every move. He realised that she was a very independent woman "who acted on her own volition". Indeed, when MGR opted for a new heroine in 1970, an irate Jaya found a new friend in Telugu star Shoban Babu. It was only in 1981 that the relationship was revived, leading to her induction into politics a year later. Recollects Kannan: "A minister in MGR’s cabinet invited Jayalalitha to present a dance-drama at Madurai. MGR was so impressed by her performance that they became friends again."
Though the friendship was revived, MGR kept a close tab on his Ammu. Notes John: "This played on her mind. She felt she was a trapped woman being observed under a microscope. But she also seemed to have enjoyed all the attention." Interestingly, among those asked to spy on her by MGR was Sasikala who then ran a video parlour. Later, she became one of her closest advisers. Notes Kannan: "Very few people know this. But copies of the letters she wrote to me on her political moves made their way to MGR. I am convinced that this was given to him by Sasikala."
MGR had reasons to be suspicious. In late 1984 when he was hospitalised in the US following a stroke, Jayalalitha, a Rajya Sabha MP since 1983, was convinced that she should take over the reins. She approached the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, and governor S.L. Khurana to appoint her chief minister since she felt that MGR’s health would not permit him to discharge his duties. Her moves were widely reported. Kannan who acted as her courier confirms her efforts to get to the top slot. So does John. Thirunavakkarsu. And R.M. Veerappan.
Stung by her moves, MGR stripped her of the deputy leadership of the parliamentary party. In an interview to Savvy magazine, she articulated her anger against the decision: "MGR has been a great influence in my life, I don’t deny that. But now I am my own person. I have evolved. Hereafter, I am responsible only for myself. Never again will anybody influence me to such an extent that all my thoughts and actions and statements are influenced and made in a particular way just because someone else wants it that way."
In this "I will launch myself" mode, a parallel outfit called the Jayalalitha Peravai (conference) was formed in 1986, courtesy Kannan. Though Jayalalitha has denied any hand in its formation, Kannan told Outlook that it was with her full knowledge. The formation of the Peravai upset MGR no end. She was asked to stop functioning as the propaganda secretary of the AIADMK, a post specially created for her in 1983, and Kannan was expelled from the party. "When I met MGR he was very cryptic in telling me not to support that woman," says Kannan. The rivalry continued and in early 1987 the group opposed to Jayalalitha managed to convince MGR to convene the general council of the party to expel Jayalalitha and her friends. Sensing this, 33 MLAs owing allegiance to Jayalalitha held a meeting and decided to approach Rajiv to prevail upon MGR to stall Jayalalitha’s expulsion. Says Kannan: "This meeting was wrongly reported by the state intelligence as a move to float a rival party. A bitter and sad MGR could not stomach his protege breaking away. The sacking of Jayalalitha was struck off the general council’s agenda and Madam was invited to speak at a public rally that evening." This was the turning point in her career.
According to Jayalalitha’s inner circle, it was her success in managing MGR, often described as the wiliest of CMs, that convinced her she could manipulate all categories of politicians. Her pressure tactics with the BJP, they aver, are only a manifestation of this. Her former friend Thirunavakkarsu notes: "She has a history of using people and then discarding them." According to him, she has no permanent friends. This perhaps explains why she has tied up with her one-time arch rival Subramanian Swamy. Adds Thirunavakkarsu: "You cannot view her actions through traditional logic. She is a very impulsive person who manufactures situations to push her own personal agenda."
To a great degree, MGR is responsible for her achieving instant VIP status in the party. It was he who gave orders to partymen that they should stand up to show their respect to her. It was he who advised her to shun the media. When she came to power in 1991, she took all this to an extreme limit. She kept even her ministers at a distance. It was widely believed that it was Sasikala Natarajan who ran the government.
But the final word comes from Cho: "It is her habit to make unf-avourable remarks against her allies. She did it to Narasimha Rao. But this is the first time that she is trying to humiliate a PM. She is in a desperate hurry. Perhaps the cases against her could be solved only when the state government is changed. What she fails to understand is that the mandate is as much the BJP’s as the AIADMK’s."
Political wisdom dictates that Jayalalitha should be more diplomatic. But Jayalalitha functions on the principle, what Jaya wants Jaya shall get. Given her past, it doesn’t seem that preposterous, but for the Vajpayee government it spells continued turbulence.
Vaasanthi's biography: broad details of
Vaasanthi's biography strikes a sensible balance
A news report this morning asked a million-dollar question: "Is J Jayalalithaa a narcissist or a victim of slander?" It was raised with reference to the 213 cases of defamation that the Tamil Nadu government has filed in the last five years against people who have dared malign their chief minister. The situation has become so absurd that the Supreme Court berated the government yesterday for misusing the state machinery to settle personal scores. "This is not the sign of a healthy democracy," the bench said, adding, "If somebody criticises the policy of the government, if the person criticised is a public figure, he has to face it instead of using the state machinery to choke criticism."
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy has 5 cases pending against him for insulting Jayalalithaa, or Amma as she is popularly called, on Twitter. Over two dozens cases have been slapped on her political opponent, the leader of Desiya Morpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Vijaykanth. Around 55 have been filed against media platforms for adverse reporting on her or her government, while 85 are against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), arch-rival of Jayalalithaa's party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Over the years, Jayalalithaa's public image has come to attain a protean quality. To her supporters, she's a goddess incarnate. Officials and party workers are regularly seen supplicating at her feet with pride and reverence. Her sworn enemies, especially M. Karunanidhi of DMK and his clan, have left no stone unturned to abuse her. Jayalalithaa has been to prison several times for massive financial irregularities and other charges of corruption, but has come out each time, won elections, seized power and got back at those who crossed her path.
It is a challenge to catch the nebulous human being who lurks between these various avatars: dictatorial leader, unscrupulous politician and a woman who has had to find her feet in an overtly male world, often by invoking a certain ruthless streak within herself.
Journalist Vaasanthi, one of Tamil Nadu's most respected writers who was the editor of the Tamil edition of the India Today for nearly a decade, brings out the complexity of Jayalalithaa's character in her short biography, Amma: Journey From Movie Star To Political Queen. The narrative is gripping, without being sensational. It employs psychological conjecture, but avoids any prurience, to understand the enigma that is Jayalalithaa. Most importantly, the book places its subject in the context of the world that made her, as any biography ideally should.
The transformation of Jayalalithaa from little Ammu, who was academically gifted and wanted to be a doctor or engineer, to a beloved film star, who became the legendary MGR's protégée due to the force of circumstances, to the larger-than-life Amma, the benevolent yet fearsome leader of the people, is a story that takes more than investigation to piece together.
Jayalalithaa's magnetic popular appeal, her innate reserve and mistrust of the media make her a difficult subject to write about. So cryptic are her ways that the real reason behind her estrangement from her brother or the nature of her relationship with her close aide, Sashikala, is yet to be fully known. As a result, it requires empathy, discretion and, most crucially, imagination to bring her story to life, all of which are apparent in Vaasanthi's expert narration.
In Amma, Vaasanthi seems to project the drama of Jayalalithaa's childhood as a defining moment for her adult personality, without obviously saying so. Born in Mandya near Mysore, Jayalalithaa was brought up by her Tamil Iyengar Brahmin mother, Veda, who later assumed the name Sadhya and starred in several movies in the South. After losing their father early in life, Jayalalithaa and her brother grew up at her grandparents' house in Bangalore. Her pining for her mother, who was living the busy life of an actor in Chennai, was constant. Jayalalithaa sought her company and approval but never got much of either, a fact that would shape her choices years later as an adult, especially her hugely successful career in the film industry, which she never quite wanted to be a part of.
Jayalalithaa's troubled relationship with MGR, who was over 30 years older to her, is at the centre of the story. The ups and downs of their relationship are fairly well-known. She tried to coax, cajole and coerce him into marrying her. He refused each time, shunned her for months, demoted her in the AIADMK chain of command, but would soften eventually. After his death, Jayalalithaa succeeded in establishing herself as the supremo of the party, but had to move heaven and hell to conquer the heroic resistance put up by Janaki, MGR's legally wedded wife.
Since then, it has been a journey of constant highs and lows, marked by giddy success, relentless abuse from rivals and often preposterous humiliation from legal scrutiny. Vaasanthi's chronicle of the AIADMK's moving between various allies, especially the Congress and the BJP, are common knowledge. So is the story of DMK's dramatic loss of public trust for its support of the LTTE, which was responsible for Rajiv Gandhi's death. But it is her invocation of the political mood of those years, defined by the personalities of the leaders and the pulse on the street, which makes the revisiting of familiar material so rewarding.
The book ends with Jayalalithaa coming back to power in the 2016 assembly elections, a much revered figure to the electorate at 68, having "waded through an inferno to reach where she has", living very much in the present and in her own terms, fearless of the consequences of her actions and decisions as always.
Amma: Jayalalithaa's Journey From Movie Star To Political Queen is published by Juggernaut Books, 204 pages, Rs 299.
MGR and Jayalalithaa: a bittersweet story
Jayalalithaa’s alleged love affair with her mentor MG Ramachandran aka the famous film star and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MGR, and their fallout after a successful political career together.
Here are 6 things to know about the love affair of the charismatic star and the beauty Jayalalithaa.
MG Ramachandran was Jayalalithaa’s mentor in a true sense. Not only did the onscreen couple deliver 28 hits at the southern box office, but also had a great relationship off-screen – until they drifted apart.
Jayalalithaa wanted to make her relationship with MGR, who was married and way too senior in terms of age, official. But he was unwilling. Jayalalithaa was then rumoured to have married Telugu actor Shobhan Babu.
After years of rift, when MGR became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu representing the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) IN 1970, he introduced Jayalalithaa to politics. In fact, he called upon her to take on his arch rival M Karunanidhi.
But AIADMK party workers reportedly caused a rift between Jayalalithaa and MGR, forseeing that she was getting to rise up the ranks faster than them. It was being said that Jayalalithaa wanted him to nominate her as a successor to chief ministership of the state.
The Jayalalithaa and MGR love story came to an end, as the political rivalry ensured they did not eye to eye. In an interview on the television show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal, Jayalalithaa revealed that she was not in a relationship with MGR. In fact, she said that MGR did not make it smooth for it in politics. She paved the way for herself and rose up the ladder.
The rift was forever. When MGR went for treatment to the US, Jayalalithaa did not even know about it, reports Manorama. And when MGR was ill in hospital, Jayalalithaa was not allowed to meet him despite her letter to the Prime Minister seeking permission to meet him
The love-hate affair
Jayalalithaa was “Ammu” for M G Ramachandran. She hoped to live with the matinee idol who was already married and 31 years older than her. After all he wanted her to accompany him everywhere and cared for her despite opposition from several quarters.
Jayalalithaa planned her marriage several times but MGR always backed out, Vasanthi writes in Jayalalithaa’s biography titled ‘Amma’. Her greatest ambition in life was to live with the man she loved, Vasanthi adds.
MGR and Jaya were the most celebrated pair onscreen and off screen when they parted ways in 1970. They were destined to be apart for almost a decade. MGR picked other actresses for his movies while Jaya became close to Telugu actor Shobhan Babu. There is no confirmation of her getting married to Babu, except a friend’s claim to have seen their wedding album, as documented in ‘Amma’. Later, rumors started doing the rounds that the couple called it quits.
Meanwhile, MGR became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977. Four years later, Jaya received a phone call from her former mentor. He wanted her to join his party, Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam. MGR wanted Jaya’s fan base to offset the oratory of his bitter rival M Karunanidhi. Jaya rose up the rungs swiftly. And she ruffled many feathers in the party.
She was accused of ignoring the party leadership but her popularity grew steadily. Her critics succeeded in creating rifts between her and MGR. He prevailed over her to end the serialized publication of her autobiography that appeared in a Tamil magazine. They grew apart again.
Jaya did not even know about MGR’s decision to go to the United States for medical treatment in 1984. She was kept away when he was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. She even wrote to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to let her meet MGR. The Chief Minister, however, kept her at a distance even after he returned from the United States after a kidney transplant. Jaya was locked in the VIP lounge in the airport by some party leaders when she went to receive him.
The cause of the rift was never revealed, though it was rumored that MGR was irritated by her demand to be made the interim chief minister while he was away. The letters Jaya wrote to MGR got leaked promptly.
Jaya gradually lost all positions within the party. In 1986, a caucus was formed within the party and it was named Jayalalitha Peravai. Jaya denied any knowledge of the caucus but that did not help. As her ouster from the party became imminent, Jaya met with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and told him that her faction had the support of more legislators.
MGR could not afford to let Jaya form a new party – as he gathered from her meeting with Gandhi – and called her back into the fold. She was reappointed to all the posts she held earlier.
“My early years were dominated by my mother. Later, it was MGR. I did not have a life of my own under their shadow,” Jaya once said. After Jaya’s mother died, her every movement was controlled by MGR, Jaya’s former public relations agent Film News Anandan has said. MGR even set her remuneration and received it. Jaya had to rely on MGR for money.
Even when she lost all liberty, she wanted to legitimize the affair with MGR and wipe off the rumors that shrouded her life.
Jaya loved MGR with all her life and hated him for abandoning her. He died in 1987. Jaya remained unmarried.
‘Husband’ Sobhan Babu, ‘daughters’ Shobana, Priya Mahalakshmi
Throughout Dr. Jayalalithaa’s life there were rumours that she was once married to Telugu filmstar Sobhan Babu. No mainstream media outlet has found it fit to record this story. Therefore, Indpaedia has not archived any of the numerous non-mainstream articles and blogs giving ‘proof’ of this marriage. (We have, however, on this page cited Outlook, which called Shoban Babu her ‘one-time live-in friend.’)
Separately there were rumours that she had a daughter called Shobana studying in a medical college in the region of AP that is still called Andhra Pradesh, perhaps in Vijaywada. Then one day in 2012 a young lady called Priya Mahalakshmi surfaced and claimed to be the daughter of the Puratchi Selvi.
For a person as lonely and as emotionally dependent on another person (i.e. Sasikala), Jayalalithaa would have found a biological daughter a boon, and an even bigger emotional support. It made no sense for Jayalalithaa to have abandoned a biological daughter or not left any of her enormously disproportionate assets to a biological daughter.
The government on Tuesday filed two defamation cases against the Tamil biweekly Junior Vikatan in the Principal Sessions Court for publishing reports that allegedly defamed Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
The complaints were filed by City Public Prosecutor (CPP) M.L. Jegan on behalf of the Chief Minister.
The editor, publisher, printer and reporters of the magazine have been cited as the accused. A woman by name Priya Mahalakshmi, whose claim that she was the Chief Minister’s daughter as mentioned in the reports was also cited as an accused in one of the cases.
The highlights of her political career
Six times Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa's career saw many ups and downs Jalayalithaa became the chief minister in 1991, 2001, 2002 (by-election), 2011, 2015 (by-election) and 2016.
Unlike the DMK, Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK was briefly part of central governments, too. She withdrew her support to the BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. She criticised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s policy decisions. Basically, she raised her voice against both the Congress and BJP governments and sometimes even took them to court. However, she was seen as a good friend of the post 2014 BJP leadership at the Centre, especially with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister.
Some of Jayalalithaa’s initiatives, such as rain water harvesting, affordable canteens, pharmacies, cradle baby scheme, health care and a host of other schemes, were well appreciated by the leaders at the national level, a few state governments, and also some other countries.
The names of most of the newly launched welfare schemes started with ‘Amma’, reinforcing her ‘brand equity’.
The Jayalalithaa government’s handling of the 2004 tsunami and the following relief work had received praised the world over. However, the 2015 Chennai floods cost her some seats in the state capital in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Jayalalithaa was forced to step down as chief minister twice, being disqualified after getting convicted in pending cases by the court. The last such instance had come in 2014, when she has been in jail for nearly 21 days and away from the chief minister’s chair for nearly eight months, in connection with an 18-year-old disproportionate asset case. During this period, she seldom made public appearances, except during her return from Bengaluru jail to Vedanilayam, her house in Poes Garden, Chennai.
But she never gave up and fought the case at various courts and came back to power after getting acquitted in the case by the Karnataka High Court.
Following an appeal against the Karnataka High Court order acquitting her in the disproportionate asset case, the Supreme Court was expected to pronounce its judgment, but she died before the judgement was pronounced.
Among the many accolades she won over her lifetime, she was given the Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani Award in 1972, an honorary Doctorate (DLitt) by the University of Madras in 1991, and honorary doctorates from the MGR Medical University, Madurai Kamaraj University and Bharati Dasan University later. In 2004, British House of Lords invited her to accept ‘New Year’s Best Political Lady’ and International Human Rights security committee chose her for ‘Thanga Tharagai’ Award for her services in saving the downtrodden and bringing gender equality in Tamil Nadu and India.
As an administrator, she came up with a ‘Vision 2023’ to make Tamil Nadu number one in terms of socio-economic growth, comparable to international standards.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion data show that from April 2000 to March 2011 the state received foreign direct investment inflows to the tune of $7.3 billion. From April 2011 to December 2015, it went up to $13.94 billion, which at current conversion rate, is equal to Rs 83,766 crore. Between a short period of April 2015 and December 2015, the state had attracted $4.3 billion in FDI.
June 5, 1982: Jayalalithaa joins the AIADMK saying that Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran was instrumental in introducing her to politics. She made her first speech on "Pennin Perumai" (The Greatness of a Woman). She was soon appointed member of the high-level committee overseeing the Chief Minister's Nutritious Noon Meal Scheme.
March 1983: Jayalalithaa made the propaganda secretary of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), but, being a Brahmin in a Dravidian party, she was not accepted by many. (T E Narasimhan & Gireesh Babu | Chennai December 6, 2016, Business Standard, How Komalavalli became the 'Iron Lady' of Tamil Nadu)
March 12, 1984: Jayalalithaa is one among three AIADMK candidates to file their nominations in the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu. M.G. Ramachandran wanted her to become a member of the Rajya Sabha because of her English skills. Her nomination is proposed by the Assembly Speaker, K. Rajaram. She is elected and remains a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1984-1989. She is elected Deputy Leader of the party's parliamentary group.
May 25, 1984: Jayalalithaa resigns as Propaganda Secretary of the AIADMK but her resignation is not accepted by MGR. On August 20, 1984, she writes to him again, urging him to accept her resignation, saying that in recent months an impression had been created that only she was responsible for all the confusion and ruptures in the party. MGR accepts her resignation subsequently.
At a time when MGR was ill and receiving medical treatment in the US, the AIADMK had to contest elections to the Lok Sabha elections and the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in December 1984. Jayalalithaa took up the challenge and spearheaded the AIADMK-Congress alliance in MGR’s absence and secured a massive victory.
January January 20, 1985: In an interview with The Hindu, Jayalalithaa speaks about her removal from the deputy leadership of the AIADMK Parliamentary Party at a time when MGR was hospitalised in New York.
“If Mr. M. G. Ramachandran was perfectly all right and was in full possession of mental faculties and was able to understand questions and answer them and gave instructions and orders, she asked, ‘why then are these leaders afraid to let me meet him’.” In the days that followed she alleged that Mr. MGR was not aware of what was being said or done in his name and that a small group of people were manipulating his condition for their own benefit.
September 5, 1985: M. G. Ramachandran restores Jayalalithaa as Propaganda Secretary of the AIADMK, a position which she lost a year ago.
December 25, 1987: Jayalalithaa is humiliated at MG Ramachandran’s funeral procession. After the death of MGR, the AIADMK splits into two factions, one led by MGR's wife Janaki Ramachandran and the other by Jayalalithaa
January 1, 1988: Jayalalithaa assumes General Secretaryship of the AIADMK.
January 24, 1989: Jayalalithaa resigns her membership of the Rajya Sabha after her election to the State Assembly, contesting from Bodinayakkanur. The Jayalalithaa-led faction wins only 27 seats and her party becomes the largest opposition party in the State Assembly.
February 9, 1989: She becomes the first woman to be the elected Leader of the Opposition.
February 1989: she reunites the two factions of the AIADMK and restores the "Two Leaves" symbol. At one stage she sought to renounce politics and retire. Her sending in her resignation served as a shock therapy just as it used to be in the days of her political mentor MGR, and that brought greater cohesion among the party cadre and leaders.
March 25, 1989: Jayalalithaa is assaulted by ruling DMK members in front of the Assembly Speaker. She left the Assembly in her torn saree. She swears that she will not return to the House as long as the DMK president, Mr. Karunanidhi, is in power.
1989 also marks Jayalalithaa’s entry into national politics. The AIADMK alliance wins in the Lok Sabha Election, with 39 of the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. She had again led the AIADMK-Congress alliance to a historic victory in the general elections in Tamil Nadu.
1991: Following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur, Jayalalithaa partners with the Congress party in the Assembly elections and the coalition of AIADMK-Congress sweeps the polls by winning 224 out of 234 Assembly seats and all 39 Lok Sabha seats.
In an interview with The Hindu during the election campaign Jayalalithaa promises that her government “will be a government of compassion”, restoring MGR’s rule.
June 25, 1991: Jayalalithaa is sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu with the largest number of members behind her in the State Assembly. The Tamil Nadu Assembly also has the largest number of women members — 25, belonging to the AIADMK and five to the Congress
1992: Ms. Jayalalithaa introduces the "Cradle Baby Scheme" to prevent female foeticide. This scheme is extended up to 2011. Her government is the first to introduce police stations operated solely by women. She introduces 30 per cent quota for women in all police jobs and establishes as many as 57 all-women police stations.
September 7, 1995: She conducts a lavish wedding to her 'foster son' V.N. Sudhakaran, the nephew of her close aide Sasikala, with thespian action SIvaji Ganesan's granddaughter. The extravanganza earned numerous controversy, especially over her income.
May 9, 1996: Jayalalithaa is defeated in Bargur constituency. She resigns as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, following the party’s defeat in the Assembly polls by the DMK.
August 27, 1996: Jayalalithaa snaps ties with her close aide Sasikala and disowns her 'foster son.'
December 7, 1996: Jayalalithaa is arrested and remanded to 30-day judicial custody in connection with the colour TV scam. Six cases are filed against her at the time, among them the “Pleasant Stay Hotel” case, the TANSI land deal case, and the disproportionate assets case. 1998: AIADMK and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forges alliance in the State marking the entry of the party to Tamil Nadu.
April 17, 1999: Jayalalithaa masterminds the fall of the BJP coalition government led by Prime Mminister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by withdrawing the AIADMK’s support in a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha.
May 30, 2000: She is acquitted in the Colour TV case on May 30, 2000 by a special court and the High Court upholds the order of the lower court.
February 2, 2000: Jayalalithaa is convicted in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case. Found guilty under two counts, the AIADMK general secretary is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 1000 for each count. The High Court suspends her sentence.
October 10, 2000: Jayalalithaa and her associate Sasikala are convicted and sentenced by a special court, to three years and two years rigorous imprisonment in two 'TANSI land deal' cases.
May 14, 2001: Election Commission rejects Jayalalithaa's nomination. Despite that, she becomes the Chief Minister for the second time. Her appointment is legally voided when the Supreme Court rules that she cannot hold it whilst convicted of criminal acts.
September 21, 2001: Jayalalithaa resigns as Chief Minister and nominates O. Panneerselvam as her successor. In December, the Madras High Court acquits her in the TANSI case and the Coal import case.
February 2002: Jayalalitha wins the Andipatti Assembly bypolls with a handsome margin and assumes the position of Chief Minister. During her tenure she forms India's first company of female police commandos.
November, 2003: SC upholds her acquittal in TANSI case, but asks her to atone for buying TANSI property in violation of the Code of Conduct for Ministers and return it to the PSU.
2004: The AIADMK-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in the Lok Sabha election loses the general election.
2006: Jayalalithaa wins from Andipatti, but her party loses to DMK. She took over the Leader of Opposition post from O. Panneerselvam, after all MLAs of AIADMK were suspended during an Assembly proceeding.
May 16, 2011: The AIADMK wins the 13-party alliance in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections and Jayalalithaa is sworn in as the Chief Minister for the third time. Ms. Jayalalithaa also made a decision in this year to expel her long-time aide Sasikala Natarajan and 13 others from the AIADMK. Months later Sasikala was taken back into Poes Garden, Jayalalithaa's residence.
2011-16: She introduces several welfare measures with the brand name 'Amma', such as Amma Water, Amma Pharmacy, Amma Unavagam and so on.
2012: Ms. Jayalalithaa, along with Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress supports P.A. Sangma's candidature for Presidential elections, even though Congress and BJP supported Pranab Mukherjee. However on the day of polls, many AIADMK leaders voted for Mr. Mukherjee.
September 2014: Ms. Jayalalithaa is sentenced to four years in jail and fined Rs. 100 crores by the Special Court in Bangalore in the disproportionate assets case. She loses CM post once again. Mr. Panneerselvam is elected as Chief Minister.
2016: Once again, she is sworn in as the Chief Minister, having been elected from Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in the bypolls with a landslide victory. She is one of the few Chief Ministers to be elected consecutively twice.
In her political career, Ms. Jayalalithaa faced nine elections and has won seven. In 1972, Ms. Jayalalithaa was awarded the Kalaimamani by the Government of Tamil Nadu. She also received honorary doctorates and other honours, beginning with an award from the University of Madras in 1991.
First tenure: 24.6.1991 – 12.5.1996
In 1991, the AIADMK-Congress alliance won 225 seats based on a sympathy wave arising out of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
Second tenure: 14.5.2001 – 21.9.2001
In the 2001 polls, her nomination was rejected as she was convicted in a land deal case. She was later acquitted of all the charges
Third tenure: 2.3.2002 – 12.5.2006
In March 2002, she assumed the office of CM after winning the by-election in Andipatti after the Madras HC acquitted her in two cases
Fourth tenure: 16.5.2011 – 27.9.2014
Her fourth term as CM was ended by her conviction in an assets case in 2014. She was sent to jail, and this led to her disqualification
Fifth tenure: 23.5.2015 – 16.5.2016
On May 23, 2015, she was sworn in CM after her acquittal in the assets case. In June 2015, she won a by-election from R.K.Nagar by a margin of 1.6 lakh votes
Sixth tenure: 23.5.2016 - 5 Decmber 2016
Leader of the Opposition:
9.2.1989 – 1.12.1989
29.5.2006 – 13.5.2011
Rajya Sabha Member:
3.4.1984 – 28.1.1989
Legislative Assembly Member:
27.1.1989 – 30.1.1991
24.6.1991 – 12.5.1996
23.5.2015 – 5 Decmber 2016
How Jayalalithaa Trounced MGR's Wife To Take Over AIADMK
Excerpted by Huffington Post with permission of Juggernaut Books from 'Amma: Jayalalithaa's Journey from Movie Star to Political Queen'.
'MGR is no more.'
It was a stunning blow to her. He had departed, leaving her in the lurch. In a daze she summoned the driver and rushed to Ramavaram Gardens, MGR's residence, but when she reached there she was refused permission to enter the house. She got out of the car and banged on the door with her fists. When the door was opened at last no one would say where the body was. She ran up and down the front and back stairs several times but all the doors were firmly slammed on her face to prevent her from having a glimpse of the dead body of the man who was not only her mentor but with whom she had had such a close, emotional association.
Eventually she was told that his body had been taken away through the back door and driven to Rajaji Hall. She got into her car with her heart pounding and instructed the driver to race there. At Rajaji Hall she rushed to the body and firmly planted herself at the head. MGR lay supine, neatly dressed in his full-sleeved shirt, fur cap and dark glasses - his trademark attire.
One can imagine her feelings on seeing the lifeless body of the matinee idol who had promised Sandhya, her mother, that he would take care of her dear Ammu.
One can imagine her feelings on seeing the lifeless body of the matinee idol who had promised Sandhya, her mother, that he would take care of her dear Ammu. She did not shed a tear. She did not wail. She stunned the onlookers and mourners by standing vigil by MGR's body for two days - thirteen long hours the first day and eight hours the second day. She willed herself not to give way to physical exhaustion.
But the mental and physical torture came from other sources. Several women supporters of Janaki's stood near her and began stamping on her feet, driving their nails into her skin and pinching her to drive her away. But she stood undaunted, swallowing the humiliation and her pride, obstinately remaining where she had taken position. She seemed oblivious of her surroundings. But there must have been one question hammering her brain - what now? She was thirty-eight, single, left in limbo by the very man, now lying lifeless, who had brought her into politics with promises of a great future ahead. She, who had been looked upon by the party cadres as a natural successor to their beloved leader, was now a non-entity, fighting to have a glimpse of the departed leader. It was not in her nature to take defeat lying down.
She followed the body as it was placed in the gun carriage, trying to place a wreath on the body and join the funeral procession. The soldiers on duty helped her by giving her a hand to get into the carriage. There were at once angry shouts from behind and she saw MLA Dr K.P. Ramalingam advancing menacingly towards her. Suddenly she was assaulted - hit on the forehead by Janaki's nephew Deepan, who pushed her out of the carriage. She was hurt and bruised and shocked beyond words. Disgusted at the insults hurled at her by Deepan and Ramalingam - they called her a prostitute - she decided not to attend the funeral. She was driven home in her Contessa, escorted by soldiers.
The news spread like wildfire, sending shock waves among the party cadres. Her bruised spirits must have soared as party workers and several leaders, including MPs and MLAs, started pouring in to see her. They swore to stand by her in her claim to be MGR's successor as party leader. Many among the cadres openly said, 'We want a charismatic leader. Jayalalithaa is the only person with charisma.'
She felt assured that even though MGR had not nominated her as his successor, her standing among the people had not diminished.
She felt assured that even though MGR had not nominated her as his successor, her standing among the people had not diminished, and they would decide in her favour. But there was no immediate need for an election. The AIADMK had won the elections with a comfortable majority. And the next elections were two years away.
Ninety-seven MLAs of the AIADMK signed a memorandum supporting Janaki and submitted it to S.L. Khurana, the Governor, who then invited Janaki to form the government. Janaki was sworn in as the chief minister on 7 January 1988. She was required to prove her majority on the floor by 28 January.
On that day there was absolute pandemonium in the Assembly on account of the Speaker showing open support to Janaki's side. Several members angrily protested against this open flouting of rules. Suddenly some goondas entered the house and started beating up the pro-Jayalalithaa group and the Congress MLAs. During the rampage someone alerted the police. For the first time in the history of the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the police entered the legislative house and lathi- charged MLAs. In the midst of all this fracas, the Speaker announced that the confidence motion was won by the government.
Suddenly some goondas entered the house and started beating up the pro-Jayalalithaa group and the Congress MLAs.
When Jayalalithaa was informed about the rumpus in the Assembly she knew there was no time to waste. She issued a statement that democracy had been murdered and appealed to the Governor to dismiss Janaki's ministry immediately. The protesting AIADMK MLAs, along with the local Congress members, met the Governor and gave a detailed report of what had transpired. The Governor in turn sent his report to the Centre, recommending that the situation in Tamil Nadu demanded the dismissal of the government and the proclamation of emergency. The Centre accepted the Governor's recommendation.
The turning point that Jayalalithaa was hoping for had come sooner than she had expected.
First term: imperious, impervious
In her first term, she came across as imperious and impervious to people's concerns. The outcome of the elections that year was historical. The main opposition teamed up. A faction of Congress, the Tamil Maanila Congress, led by G K Moopanar, defying the party's decision to align with AIADMK, joined the DMKled front. Adding strength to the DMK-TMC alliance, superstar Rajinikanth campaigned in its favour, coining the catch phrase, `Even God can't save Tamil Nadu if you vote for Jayalalithaa', which became a legend.
It was a total rout for Jayalalithaa and she herself was defeated in Bargur constituency to a political novice from DMK. The crowds she got in Bargur when she campaigned comprised mostly women, some of whom said they had come only to see the jewels Sasikalaa was wearing.
Faced with charges of corruption, Jayalalithaa had vowed not to wear a single piece of jewellery until she got back her collection seized by the courts.
Authoritarian leadership, big corrup tion, and endless freebies for the masses.
These were the hallmarks of Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa (pop ularly called Amma). She has been praised by even her bitter political foes. Yet this political correctness must not distort her electoral record.
Since the 1970s, power in Tamil Nadu has oscillated between the DMK and Amma's AIADMK. The big exception was in 1984, when M G Ramachandran was re-elected.After that, every incumbent was voted out. So, when Amma was re-elected earlier this year, analysts called it spectacular, and attributed it to a record list of freebies and subsidies that supposedly won her the undying love of the masses.
That's rubbish. Far from winning the undying love of the masses, Amma's vote share actually crashed from almost 52% in 2011 to just over 42% in 2016. This huge anti-incumbent swing should normally have meant crushing defeat. But, luckily for her, the DMK was so confident of winning that it failed to bring small but significant parties into its alliance. The anti-incumbent vote was split, with the Third Front and PMK winning almost 11% of votes. This allowed Amma to squeak through with tiny margins in many seats. The outcome was more a DMK blunder than a great Amma victory .
To put the figures in perspective, the vote share of Amma's alliance in her earlier victories was 59.8% in 1991, 50.1% in 2001, and 51.9% in 2011. So, the crash to barely 41% in 2016 is not evidence of some fabulous rapport with the masses. Yes, she had a core of fanatical supporters. But when I covered the election campaign, one female voter said, “Where does Amma get all this money for freebies? From the people, of course. If she then gives back some of it, should we be grateful?“ In any case Amma had no monopoly on freebies, which were espoused by all parties in the state. The DMK over the years also advocated free electricity , canal water, colour TVs and housing schemes. In the election earlier this year, it offered free WiFi connections and the waiving of farm loans.
Compared with northern states, Tamil Nadu has always enjoyed a good economic climate and government services, despite deep corruption. Fast GDP growth in the liberalisation era brought rising revenues and ever-higher freebies from both parties. But state voters proved too smart to be purchased. Despite freebies offered by both sides, voters persistently voted out incumbents for corruption and misgovernance.
This echoed the historical all-India trend. Having won India independence, the Congress dominated elections till 1989. Slow GDP growth in those pre-liberalisation days meant there was no correlation between economic growth and electoral victory . The Congress found victory as easy or difficult in fast-growing Maharashtra as in the slowgrowing BIMAROU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand).
Politics became a business. Governments extorted huge sums while in office, and then offered freebies to voters and bought off minor parties and vote banks to form wining alliances. Yet this did not guarantee reelection: three-quarters of all incumbents lost.
The big change came in the 2000s, when economic reforms launched by New Delhi in 1991 facilitated record growth. A new breed of chief ministers came up, mostly in the misgoverned BIMAROU states. These CMs focused on better governance and infrastructure, not freebies. Corruption and subsidies did not vanish, but cleaner politics and purposive development sparked record GDP growth. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were in some years the fastest-growing states in India.
The electoral consequences were dramatic. Naveen Patnaik in Odisha won four elections in a row. Others won three elections in a row -Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh, and Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh. So did Narendra Modi in Gujarat.
Suddenly anti-incumbency was replaced by proincumbency . The trick was to shift (though not entirely) from freebies to cleaner government plus economic development. Where the government was not clean (as in several regimes in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh), economic growth was slower and CMs did not get re-elected.
BIMAROU chief ministers chalked up far better electoral records than Amma ever did. So, even as we mourn her, let nobody think she proved that popularity is best bought by freebies.
Dr. J. Jayalalithaa: political comebacks
TEMPORARY FALL? - `Don't write her off yet, she's bounced back before'
The Times of India TIMES NEWS NETWORK Sep 28 2014
Stepping out of her car in front of the Parappana Agrahara prison near Bangalore to hear the DA case verdict a little before 11am on 27 Sept 2014, Jayalalithaa is said to have told her driver she'd be back around 12.30pm and return to Chennai. That was not to be, but it revealed her attitude.
Some may call it temerity, but it was this quality that helped her surmount several adversities, personal and political, to bounce back to relevance -and power. If her resurrections are anything to go by, Jayalalithaa is a phoenix who has had another fall.
Jayalalithaa has fought and won a dozen cases between 1996-2014, but the DA case -given the legal and political implications -may prove the toughest.
The last time she had to relinquish the CM's post, in 2001, she had the luxury of having just come to power She came back after a Chennai trial court convicted her in the TANSI case of September 2001.
The administrator in Jayalalithaa
Her 7 most popular policy initiatives
YKA concluded that there were seven reasons which probably had a role to play in Jayalalithaa being such a huge name in the state.
Amma Unavagam (Mother Canteen)
One of the great successes in postcolonial India is the scheme of Amma Unavagam (Mother Canteen). It is a chain of canteens where food is provided at a highly subsidised rate. It is a hit amongst the people of Tamil Nadu. The beauty of it lies in the fact that it is not only people from the poorer sections of Tamil society who go to have food in the Amma canteens. It’s popular amongst people from affluent backgrounds as well. The scheme started in 2013.
By 2016, it had over 200 such canteens across Tamil Nadu. Curd rice and sambhar rice are always available and cost just Rs 3. Two chapattis with dal also cost the same amount. Amma and her party’s success in both the general and state elections seem to suggest that people are happy with such welfare policies in a neo-liberal setup.
Banning of alcohol in phases
After being re-elected as Chief Minister in the 2016 state elections, she decided to close 500 liquor shops across the country. Before the elections, she had promised to ban alcohol in the state in phases. Time will tell if the Tamilians who love alcohol will be robbed off their drinks or if it was one of those promises before the elections, which was never meant to be taken seriously.
The encounter of Veerappan
The encounter of Veerappan, the notorious smuggler and bandit was under the reign of Jayalalithaa in 2004. It was a huge achievement. Thousand crores had been spent on the manhunt and 130 police personnel lost their lives. It was such an important event that even the national media could no longer think of an excuse to not cover a state from South India.
Cradle Baby Scheme In 1992
The Cradle Baby Scheme, launched by the Jayalalithaa government in 1992 was started to bring an end to infanticide of girl children. Cradle baby centres were initially constructed in the Salem district and it has now spread to other districts such as Dharmadari, Madurai, Namakkal, etc. The centres are equipped with life saving drugs, bed sheets and gas connections, amongst other things. There are facts to back Jayalalithaa’s claims that it created a positive impact in Tamil Nadu. The child sex ratio in Tamil Nadu was 1000 : 942, as per the 2001 census. According to the census of 2011, it jumped to 1000: 946.
Rain Water Harvesting Scheme
In a country where water from tankers leak on the main roads and taking three showers a day is described as a need by many, Tamil Nadu is one state which has given due importance to rain water harvesting. The Rain Water Harvesting Scheme was started by Jayalalithaa’s government in 2001. The government made harvesting mandatory for all residential and government buildings. Water tables in many neighbourhoods in Chennai have risen as a result. The scheme was initiated 15 years ago. Today, the people of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are ready to take law into their own hands as the earth can’t afford to share water anymore with everyone. Such vision of Jayalalithaa must be appreciated.
She is famous for providing a lot of freebies to the voters right before the elections. It continued even in the 2016 state elections despite the debt of the state reportedly having gone up by 80 percent over the past five years. In the 2016 state elections, AIADMK promised employment to one member of each family. Students from class 11 and 12 were offered free laptops with internet and every household was promised 100 free units of electricity. She had offered freebies in the 2006 and 2011 elections as well.
The most iconic freedom movement in British India, the Dandi March, began with the production of salt. The necessity of salt in everything we eat and the cheap price at which it can be obtained makes it the friend of people from all classes. How could there not be an Amma salt being sold in the state? Manufactured by the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation, it is cheaper than the salt sold by private companies. Sodium salt costs only Rs 21 while other companies sell it for not less than Rs 25.
During her tenure as Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa started scholarships for several sports - including kabbadi, fencing, and weightlifting - and implemented several schemes to promote sports and reward sporting achievements.
Wooed industry, tackled employees
Chennai: On a July morning in 2003, the CII's national council raised a toast at a luxury hotel here to Jayalalithaa after she had floored 90 of the country's most powerful CEOs with a speech. “It's a competitive world and the laggards will have to rue their complacency . May I exhort you to reassess your strategies, look for opportunities and strike boldly ,“ she said.
Some 10 days ago, she had sacked 2 lakh government employees to quell a state-wide strike. The July 25 address CII address made it clear that she was rolling out the red carpet for India Inc.
“The CM's uncommon firmness in handling the government employees' strike was a lesson for industry ,“ CII president Anand Mahindra said. In 1995, she was among the first CM to sign a deal for a Ford factory near Chennai.Ford committed to investing Rs1300crore for a greenfield plant in Maraimalai Nagar.Today , Chennai has more Ford employees than any other location in the world outside Detroit.
The late 1990s to the early 2000s marked the sharpest industrial growth in TN. The post-liberalisation era saw both the AIADMK and the DMK spotting growth opportunities, changing policies, benefitting the state.
TN now has more factories (37,378) and employs, more people in industrial jobs than any state. It brought a host of telecom manufacturers such as Nokia and Foxconn to Chennai. The government's early sniffing of opportunity made TN one of the more industrialised states in the country .
“Regional parties, espe cially in TN, were among the first to spot the opportunities in liberalisation. They en couraged industrialisation, in turn regional businesses supported their growth into power centres at the national level,“ author Sanjaya Baru said. A Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) report said in August 2002 that FDI approvals in TN were 8.32% of the country's total FDI, putting the state in third position in terms of FDI.
Between 2006 and 2011, the DMK government began offering sops. The freebie cul ture set in, and as the DMK and the AIADMK tried to out do each other in handing out doles, TN took its eye off the industrial map. “The 2006 poll reversal taught Jayalalithaa that good economics may not always be good politics,“ said M R Venkatesh, political com mentator. “In 2016, she was proved right.“ Infrastructure, too, built to encourage indus trialisation, began crumbling as governments became lax on attracting investment.
While investments arrived at breakneck speed, the slack administration led to a power deficit and rampant corrup tion. Investors were spooked.
Newer economic clusters like Sanand in Gujarat and Sri City in AP sprang up, snatch ing away investments.
’Benevolent despot, vengeful opponent:’ Vaasanthi
In July 2016, MLAs from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (the main political rivals of Jayalalithaa's party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) walked out of the Tamil Nadu Assembly during the budget debate, after Speaker P Dhanapal said they couldn't call the incumbent Chief Minister by her name. These MLAs had objected to an AIADMK MLA calling their leader, former CM Karunanidhi by name.
Vaasanthi is Jayalalithaa’s noted biographer
For more than two decades, Jayalalithaa loomed large on the horizon, in the minds of the public as a benevolent despot, a tough politician, an unforgiving leader, a vengeful opponent and an unfriendly , intolerant, ruthless chief minister who dragged journalists and opposition le-aders to court on defamation charges.
During her reigns, the fourth one running, there was fear in the corridors of power, ministers and high officials remained taciturn, afraid to utter a word without her consent; partymen, young and old, fell at her feet and women wept and circumambulated shrines and observed penance when she fell ill or was jailed; some immolated themselves when the courts indicted her.
The grip she had on the party was something of a phenomenon not heard of even during the time of her mentor M G Ramachandran.
One wonders what kind of images rolled in the dark labyrinths of her subconscious.
Could it be scenes of Jaya Vilas, her grandfather's mansion in Mysore? Her father brought home dead in the darkness of a night? Or the mirthful time she had at Church Park Convent school, with her close friends Srimathi and Chandini? Or the time she received the Best Outgoing Student Rolling Shield?
Or the fights she had with her mother when she was asked to forego studies and join films?
Or the lack of awe that she displayed when introduced to MGR, the matinee idol? Was there a smile looking back? Did the smile fade at the memory of the aborted love life she shared with someone, another actor, which was resented by the mentor? After that momen tous introduction to MGR, her persona underwent a radical transformationshe had plunged headlong into a world of dreams and frustrations; of schemers and manipulators; of demons and gods.
She felt lonely in that crowd and tired of the machinations of those seeking to separate her from MGR. They did not know that she too wanted to remain free. She could not tell anyone how overbearing and dominating he was. He controlled all her activities, including the clothes she wore; he had control over her finances. It became so stifling that at some point she felt the need to cut herself free.
MGR, too immersed in politics by then, also drifted away for quite a while. She acted with other male stars before she nearly lost interest in acting. She believed she was cut out for better things than being aglamour doll. After nearly ten years, the turning point came when she was made AIADMK party propaganda secretary and then an MP .
She was sidelined when MGR fell ill. When he died she was a nobody . How she emerged to lead the party when it became rudderless and went on to become chief minister for four terms is as much the story of Tamil Nadu as it is of Jayalalithaa.
Big hearted, too
Regarding J Jayalalithaa, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth said that his denouncement of her politics during the 1996 assembly poll campaign had caused her distress and defeat. The actor had said back then, “If Jayalalithaa is voted back to power, even God can't save Tamil Nadu.“ Rajini said. The speech ensured AIADMK's defeat in 1996. “She was distressed because of my words.I was one of the main reason why she lost in 1996,“ he said. He admitted he was pleasantly surprised when Jayalalithaa participated in his daughter's wedding despite this.,“ Rajini said.
Promoting her own brand equity
The relief operation undertaken by civic workers and volunteers of the AIADMK party have left no stone unturned to glorify Chief Minister Jayalalitha
[Jayalalithaa and her administration won high praise for their handling of the Floods in Chennai, December 2015. However,] the relief operation undertaken by civic workers and volunteers of the AIADMK party have left no stone unturned to glorify ‘Amma’, even though it leads to unnecessary expenses and delays. Each and every rescue camp had large banners of Jayalalitha and every product distributed to the flood victims was stickered with images of Amma.
According to a section of the civil society, even food, medicine and clothing brought by NGOs and private groups are forced to adhere to the sticker guidelines.
Jayalalithaa and three Telugu governors
Three Telugu governors have played a role in Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha's life.
Now at the time of her death, a Telugu man is the governor.
Three Telugu governors have played a role in Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha's life.
Marri Channa Reddy was governor of Tamil Nadu when Jayalalitha was CM in the 90s. Their feud was almost a public spectacle with Channa Reddy ascertaining his authority and Jayalalitha making attempts to cut him down to size. Channa Reddy's actions demonstrated enough that he had no great regard for Jayalalitha.
Another Telugu man, K Rosaiah was governor of Tamil Nadu. In May this year,he administered the oath of office to Jayalalitha as chief minister. Unlike Channa Reddy, Rosaiah maintained a good rapport with Jayalalitha. Rosaiah had quit as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh following which the Congress gave him the gubernatorial post in TN.
Now at the time of her death, a Telugu man is the governor. Ch Vidyasagar Rao is governor, both of TN and Maharashtra. He rushed to Chennai from Maharashtra on Sunday on learning about Jayalalitha's critical health condition.
Another person with whom Jayalalitha had a good rapport was someone from her own fraternity - the film industry, before she joined politics. She acted opposite N T Rama Rao in a dozen movies. When N T Rama Rao came to power with his TDP in Andhra Pradesh, she made it a point to be there for the swearing-in ceremony.
She also acted alongside Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Kantha Rao,Shobhan Babu and Krishna.
Some of the films she acted as a heroine with N T Rama Rao in the lead include Gopaludu Bhoopaludu, Kathanayakudu, Adarsha Kutumbam, and Bharya Biddalu.
“You don't know.“
When J Jayalalithaa said this, bureaucrats knew the CM was ending the conversation, the argument. It was a line they never crossed. Inspiring awe and respect through her terms as CM, Jayalalithaa held a tight rein over government and bureaucracy . The benevolent autocrat never took `no' for an answer, often described like her idol former PM Indira Gandhi as “the only man in her cabinet“.
Bureaucrats say she was quick to make decisions. But those who ran afoul felt her wrath as quickly . “She prepared for review meetings,“ says a senior IAS officer who worked with her. “Her capacity to comprehend was amazing. At most, she would ask for additional inputs and the decision was taken then and there.“ Her trusted lieutenants could do anything as long as they kept her in the loop.But if they lost her trust, she wouldn't hesitate to sack them. The suspensions of former chief secretary K Gnanadesikan (2016) and former DGP A Ravindranath (2001) are telling examples.
Officers would be impressed by her understanding of issues and clarity of thought. Jayalalithaa had a sharp memory , and was methodical. She had a diary containing details of almost every IPS officer in the state, going through it before deciding on transfers, postings and promotions. She kept a careful eye on Tamil nationalist groups and smaller caste parties that could cause social tensions and didn't hesitate to act against PMK's Ramadoss and MDMK's Vaiko. During her 2001-2006 term, she ordered detention of former ally Vaiko under Pota for a public speech supporting LTTE. Ramadoss and his son Anbumani were arrested in 2013 for inciting violence. She was inaccessible to many , but despite staying within a tight circle, her political assessment was rarely wrong --even with the prospect of disqualification due to the wealth case, she fielded candidates in all 234 assembly segments earlier this year; this despite predictions that the DMK was regrouping. She won the state again.
Sasikala Natarajan and Jayalalithaa
India TV News: The complete story
New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has created history by becoming the first person to return to power for a successive term in last 30 years.
Actually, she is the first leader after her mentor and the legendary MG Ramachandran to achieve this feat.
Here is an engrossing story of two ladies whose names became hyphenated. Nobody could ever think of either of them in isolation.
This story is full of love, affection, commitment, emotional blackmail and betrayal. A complete package for any Bollywood blockbuster.
Here we are talking about Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaithaa and her alter ego Sasikala Natarajan.
The world was shocked when news broke out that Jayalalitha had expelled her companion for more than two decades Sasikala Natarajan from the party and had asked her relatives to move out of her residence where they were staying for years as family members.
So what was the real story? Why the relationship of around three decades got soured so much that Jaya had to expel her most trusted lieutenant and soul sister Sasikala?
Let's go back to the time when Sasikala was a frustrated housewife who was fond of movies and always dreamt of living like superstars.
Her husband R Natarajan was working as a Public Relations officer in Tamil Nadu government on temporary basis. He was working closely with the then District Collector of Cuddalore V S Chandralekha, IAS, who in turn was very close to the then Tamil Nadu CM M G Ramachandran.
MGR was very close to his co-star Jayalalithaa and was seen as grooming her as his political heir. Impressed with Jayalalithaa's crowd pulling capabilities, MGR appointed Jayalalithaa as propaganda secretary of his party AIADMK .
As Sasikala was interested in films, she chose the business of video renting in order to earn some more bucks. She also bought a video camera and started shooting marriages in her locality.
That was the time when she urged her husband to speak to the IAS officer for shooting a video film of Jayalalithaa. The IAS officer Chandralekha was obliged to Sasikala because she had agreed to look after her son Abhijeet.
Chandralekha introduced Sasikala to jayalalithaa and the two ladies struck an instant rapport. The rest, as we say, is history.
Over a period of time, Sasikala became the most trusted companion of Jayalalithaa and stood by her in good times as well as bad times.
MGR's death in 1987 left Jayalithaa distraught. She was literally manhandled by the supporters of MGR's wife Janaki. An astute jayalalithaa took advantage of her public humiliation and presented herself as a victim of high handedness of Janaki who became CM of Tamil Nadu after MGR's demise for a brief period.
Jayalalithaa succeeded in created her own coterie in AIADMK and Janaki lost the vote of no-confidence motion brought against her by Jayalalithaa's supporters. Jayalalithaa was now the political heir of MGR.
In 1991, Jayalalithaa swept the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and became the CM. With the ascendance of Jayalaithaa, Sasikala became powerful too. In fact, she became more powerful than jayalalithaa, so much so that the ministers started taking orders directly from her.
It was said that Jayalalithaa was always surrounded by family members of Sasikala referred to as ‘Mannargudi Mafia' by the maverick Subramaniyan swamy. The epithet related to ‘Mannargudi', the place where Sasikala was born.
It is said that when Sasikala had first moved in with Jayalalithaa in 1989, she had brought 40 servants from Mannargudi to Poes Garden to run Jayalalithaa's house. All maids, cooks, securitymen, drivers and messengers at Poes Garden were hired from Sasikala's hometown.
Sasikala helped all her family members and her family became very rich by 1996. The stories of moneymaking through wrongful means by Sasikala's family members spread across the state, rather the entire country and it was one of the main reasons for the defeat of Jayalalithaa's party AIADMK in the 1996 elections.
Jayalalithaa's time changed for good once again in 1998 when AIADMK came to power at the Centre as part of Vajpayee led NDA.
NDA's troubleshooters like Pramod Mahajan and Brajesh Mishra started cultivating Sasikala and her ‘Mannargudi Mafia' but it is said that even someone like Pramod Mahajan found it difficult to deal with Sasikala's family which had enormous lust for money.
Mahajan started ignoring Sasikala and her family but it proved disastrous as Sasikala joined hands with Congress whose leader Sonia was sending her feelers.
Sasikala facilitated the tea party of 1999 at the Hotel Ashoka in Delhi attended by both Sonia and Jayalalithaa and hosted by Subramanian Swamy who was angry with Vajpayee who had refused to make him a Cabinet Minister. That tea party was termed "a political earthquake".
The AIADMK withdrew support from Vajpayee government and the Vajpayee govt fell by one vote.
Jayalalithaa came back to power in 2003 due to a High Court order but lost the assembly elections of 2006.
Through all these highs and ups in Jayalalithaa's career, Sasikala stood by her.
In 2011, Jayalalithaa once again rode back to power and that was the time when Sasikala's infamous ‘Mannargudi Mafia' started planning for the anointment of Sasikala as Tamil Nadu CM.
They thought Jayalalithaa would go to jail in her disproportionate assets case in a Bangalore court and that would be time for catapulting Sasikala on to the hot seat.
In the meantime, Jayalaithaa's good friend Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister, alerted her about the Mannargudi Mafia and told her that investors were leaving Tamil Nadu because of monetary demands from Sasikala and her family.
Another tip-off that Jayalalithaa received talked about the suspected poisoning of the CM.
An alarmed Jayalalithaa, it is said, went to a doctor for her medical tests without informing Sasikala. Her tests revealed that she was being given sedatives and chemical substances that had small quantities of arsenic.
As the story goes, her nurse at home had been appointed by Sasikala, and served the chief minister fruits and medicines at regular intervals.
That was the time when Jayalaithaa's patience was over. She also got to know about the Bangalore meeting attended by Sasikala's relatives where they discussed the succession plan in case Jayalalithaa was incarcerated.
On 17 December, 2011, Jayalalithaa asked the Mannargudi clan to pack up and leave her house.Even Sasikala was expelled from party. Some of her family members were even put behind jail for making money through illegal means.
The decades old friendship came to an end. It was a tragic end to a relationship that was unparalleled in Indian politics.
But it could not last for long. Jayalaithaa reinducted Sasikala in March 2012 after she publicly distanced herself from her family members and said that she was totally unaware of any conspiracy that her family members may have hatched.
It still remains a mystery as to why does Jayalalithaa look so helplessly dependent on Sasikala. Why has she forgiven Sasikala even after the attempt on her life that prima-facie looked the handiwork of Mannargudi Mafia?
The final word is yet to be heard in this Chennai potboiler.
The wedding that revolted TN voters
That the groom's brothers, nephews of Sasikalaa, were under investigation by central agencies for involvement in hawala deals only seemed to reinforce public distaste.“There were several complaints of corruption against her regime in 1991-96. But, from public perception, it was the vulgar display of wealth in the wedding that turned the tide against her,“ said S Murari, a journalist who watched Jayalalithaa's film career pan out in the political arena.
Subramanian Swamy was among the first to crusade against her government. In 1995, he finally got Governor Channa Reddy's sanction to prosecute Jayalalithaa in two cases, including the Tansi case.
Exactly how lavish was this notorious wedding?
A 2-km-long, illuminated baraat route, 10 dining halls, each seating a modest 25,000 persons, more diamonds than Elizabeth Taylor has seen, a 75,000 sq-ft pandal, saris worth more than what most people will earn this year, and an entire state machinery on wedding alert. What was clear to the invitees was that Sudhakaran, the nephew of the chief minister's aide Sasikala, was being readied for the ultimate honour: to be Jayalalitha's political heir. "It is more like the coronation of the crown prince (Sudhakaran helped by wearing a costly turban on both days) than a wedding," said a party functionary from Karaikudi.
When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha said she was going to get her foster son married in style, she wasn't kidding. Protests were made, petitions filed. But Jayalalitha is not called Tamil Nadu's Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) for nothing.
The groom's procession
Tons of plywood, plaster of Paris and paint were lavished on erecting Jayalalitha cut-outs, arches and elaborate facades of palaces and gateways and several hundred papier-mache statues. The wedding pandal was no less commanding. It covered an area of over 70,000 sq ft, the thatched roof camouflaged by a false ceiling and decorated by the art director Thotta Tharani. Says a police officer stationed to keep out a prying press: "The only thing missing was the couple cavorting around in a duet."
The ostentation evoked a public condemnation of the undisguised (mis)use of official machinery. The Madras Municipal Corporation deployed hundreds of its staff to level the wedding site, widen approaches and blacktop roads on the VIP route. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) installed transformers to supply power to the site; Metrowater diverted water tankers to supply seven lakh litres of water; and government vehicles were employed to transport the cut-outs.
That the TNEB turned a blind eye and the corporation never pondered if partymen had taken prior permission to put up their paraphernalia was perhaps expected. Nevertheless, it was only when 48 lawyers filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court against government spending and the possible disruption of civic services did the collusion of the government departments show up.
Though Attorney-General R. Krishnamurthy had stated that prior permission had been granted for the cut-outs and arches, the permission letter turned out to be post-dated. And TNEB files revealed that no payments had been made and no meters fixed for the power drawn. Later, Krishnamurthy claimed that services provided by state departments would be paid for.
Though the petitioners eventually got an interim court ruling that public utilities should remain intact, they failed to get a final ruling from the judge in time. Coincidentally, it came three hours after the wedding was over, with Justice S. Jagadeesan indicting the corporation authorities for allowing illegal construction.
Yet the judge too found it necessary to temper his ruling somewhat, observing that the chief minister could not be blamed for her partymen's over-enthusiasm. Prompting the eminent journalist Cho Ramaswamy to say: "It is unimaginable that the partymen and the government departments would go to this extent without the tacit approval of Jayalalitha."
Protests and indignation continued to pour in. Women's groups and other voluntary organisations joined in, while college students took to the streets protesting against the multi-crore-rupee extravaganza. Former chief minister M. Karunanidhi recalled his daughter's wedding while he was in power to be a private function held in a marriage hall. The TNCC President Kumari Anandan termed the event a "criminal act" and sought action by the Income Tax Department.
But Jayalalitha remained unmoved, brushing away criticism, saying "nobody has any business to poke into my private function", and that the appropriate authorities would be informed about "the nature of expenses". The fact that H.D. Deve Gowda, Laloo Prasad Yadav, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Sharad Pawar, Biju Patnaik, Ramakrishna Hegde and S. Bangarappa deigned to attend the wedding (Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, President Shankar Dayal Sharma and Governor Channa Reddy stayed away) has no doubt strengthened her resolve. If not, she always has her beaming partymen to endorse every move she makes.
What none of them will dare mention, of course, is that the wedding has knocked Amma's popularity. Conventional wisdom would suggest that if one's popularity graph is in decline - and Amma's has been for a while - a low profile might help. Yet, Jayalalitha has preferred to remain controversial headline news, especially considering the Sasikala connection and the multi-pronged investigation by Central agencies into her family.
Sudhakaran's eldest brother, V.N. Dinakaran, is evading an Enforcement Directorate summons for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore-rupee hawala deal, while another brother, V. N. Bhaskaran, who runs the satellite channel JJay TV, was also investigated by the CBI for hawala deals.
In fact, analysts say Jayalalitha's recent trip to New Delhi was at the behest of Sasikala, and was aimed at neutralising the investigations. But Finance Minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure from Congress MPs of the state not to relent, say sources.
A rough estimate of the marriage expenditure places the figure at Rs 100 crore.
If either Singh or the Income Tax Department required further ammunition, the wedding has presented itself as one. Indeed, an income tax official confirmed to INDIA TODAY that his department was scrutinising the cost of the marriage.
Though the final estimate of the marriage is still being worked out, the highest approximate worked out by Amma's critics is a mind-boggling Rs 100 crore. It raises one delicate question: How could the chief minister afford such a lavish bash when she draws just one rupee per month as official salary?
The wedding hall and dining rooms cost Rs 70 lakh.
Decorations - cut-outs, hoardings, papier-mache statues - and the illumination cost Rs 50 lakh.
There were two lakh tamboolam (return gift) packets. Cost: Rs 16 lakh.
VIP invitations included a silver plate with containers, a silk saree and silk dhoti - each worth Rs 20.000. Over 1,000 VIPs were invited.
Lunch for the VIP guests cost Rs 100 a head; each VIP was given bottled mineral water and a fresh hand-towel. Food for the 1,10.000 partymen cost Rs 40 per head.
Almost a 1,000 rooms at Madras top hotels were reserved for VIPs; the average rent per room is about Rs 3,000.
About 300 air-conditioned cars, rented at Rs 1,100 per day, were used.
All figures are rough estimates
The VIP Guests
Politicians: Union Welfare Minister Sitaram Kesari; Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Deve Gowda; former chief ministers Ramakrishna Hegde, S. Bangarappa, Biju Patnaik, Janaki Ramachandran and Sharad Pawar.
Film stars: Kamalahasan, Mohanlal, Suhasini, Mani Ratnam, but not Rajnikanth and Illayaraja.
Absentees: Governor Channa Reddy, Prabhakar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi.
Sudhakaran: India’s most famous foster son
VN Sudhakaran, a thitherto unknown face in Tamil Nadu politics and also Sasikala’s nephew was suddenly adopted by Jayalalithaa in 1995. At the time of announcement, Sudhakaran was betrothed to legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan’s granddaughter Satyavati and the marriage scheduled to be held in September 1995.
Jayalalithaa told her party cadres that they should consider the wedding as one within the family and celebrate it.
The extravagant wedding spelled the beginning of Jayalalithaa’s downward spiral then. Public anger built up against her as crores were splurged on the wedding and the images of a fully decked up Jayalalithaa and Sasikala became a symbol of corruption. -Jayalalithaa was routed in the 1996 election and was jailed on corruption charges. In the DA case against her, Judge Cunha found that of the total expenditure at around Rs 8 crore, expenses borne by Jayalalithaa were Rs 3 crore.
After the extravagant wedding, things soured between Jayalalithaa and her foster son. Though she never spelt out the reason for disowning him, many reports from the time suggest that Sudhakaran took away crores from her Poes garden residence and never returned it. He was disowned by Jayalalithaa on August 25, 1996, a day that he later termed as his ‘Independence Day’.
Sudhakaran told Outlook in 1997 that Jayalalithaa made him a foster son on his engagement day for settling her personal scores. According to him, Jayalalithaa had to stand up each time Sivaji Ganesan entered a function to show her respect and she had resented it. By positioning herself as the 'groom's mother', she ensured that Sivaji was relegated to being the bride's emissary, he alleged.
Sudhakaran had in 1996 started JJ TV, and went on to manage it for some years. He also formed a small outfit called the "Chinna MGR Narpani Manram” (Junior MGR Fan Club).
In 2001, hours after he made an adverse comment on Jayalalithaa, Sudhakaran’s house in Chennai was raided on a complaint registered by a former aide. An unlicensed gun and a packet of heroin were seized, leading to his arrest.
In September 2014, Sudhakaran, a co-accused in the disproportionate assets case against J Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years in prison along with the TN CM, Sasikala and her niece Ilaivarasi.
In Oct 2016 when Jayalalithaa was being treated at the Apollo hospital in Chennai, with her confidante Sasikala next to her, [VN Sudhakaran was not allowed to] enter the main block of the hospital and visit Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Jayalalithaa’s own niece Deepa Jayakumar had not been allowed to visit her aunt either. Jayalalithaa’s relationship with Deepa's father had soured a few years before his death and though the niece had waited outside the hospital for two days, she had not been allowed inside. The CM's step brother also tried in vain [to see her in the hospital]
Legal troubles, disproportionate assets: 1996-2016
Fifteen cases, including eight linked to corruption, four convictions, and two disqualifications from the chief ministerial post -few politicians in India have endured litigation and its consequences as much as J Jayalalithaa. Her ascent to the CM's job in1991made her one of the youngest in that league, and it was the end of her maiden stint in 1996 that marked the beginning of her unending court battles.
No sooner had she completed her first term, Jayalalithaa was staring at eight cases, including four for corruption -the disproportionate assets case, the two Tansi land deal cases and Kodaikanal Pleasant Stay Hotels case. Of these, only one was filed by rivals in DMK.The others were initiated by Subramanian Swamy and Palani Hills Conservation Council through the PIL route.
Jayalalithaa was found guilty and sentenced to two years' imprisonment in the Pleasant Stay Hotels case on February 2, 2000. She was also convicted in the two Tansi cases and sentenced to two years and three years in jail.Eventually , Madras high court acquitted her in all of them, and the verdicts were upheld by the Supreme Court. But by then, she had quit as CM, as a five-judge SC bench headed by Justice S P Barucha said in 2001 that convicted persons who could not contest in elections should not occupy public office.
The September 27, 2014 verdict of the special judge in Bengaluru, John Cunha, for amassing wealth, sentencing her to a four-year jail term, was the se verest indictment Jayalalithaa faced in court. For the second time, shelost the CM's post. But she bounced back with an acquittal by Karnataka HC and reclaimed the chair, which had been kept warm on both occasions by O Panneerselvam.
All through her legal travails, her perseverance did not diminish, say lawyers. From sneezing continuously , apparently to delay mandatory questioning under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code in a special court, to engaging the sharpest legal brains to defend her, Jayalalithaa resorted to every defence strategy to stave off threats to her career.
Amidst fighting corruption charges, there was also a sideshow on income tax claims, mostly for non-filing of returns. The legal battle lasted 18 years; Jayalalithaa finally paid about Rs 2 crore as penalty and settled the case last year.
The disproportionate assets case
Lavish wedding that entangled Jayalalithaa in 18-yr-long trial
The Times of India TIMES NEWS NETWORK Sep 28 2014
CM's Vulgar Display Of Wealth Did Her In
The month of September is when Chennai seems to finally shake off the blistering heat of its summer. September also holds significance for the Dravidian movement, the city's governing ideology .Both the parties gear up to celebrate the birthdays of the big ones of the movement -Periyar and Anna -in grand style.
For nearly a year before the September of 1995, there had been whispers, including in the media, of massive corruption taking place in the AIADMK regime. A Wednesday that month seemed to prove those allegations.
TN'S AMMA IS NOW JAIL-LALITHAA - Tough decision & a massive fine
The Times of India A Subramani Sep 28 2014
While many expected conviction in the Rs66.6 crore disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa and others, few were prepared for the fury of the judge, John Michael D'Cunha. He found all the four guilty of all the three charges against them. Then he sentenced them to “four years -which would deny them the immediate benefit of suspension of sentence“.Then, more importantly, he slapped a mind-boggling fine -Rs 100 crore “on Jayalalithaa and Rs10 crore each for the other three. Not stopping with that, he denied private medical facility for the TN CM outside jail campus. It is small mercy that he did not impose the maximum prescribed sentence of seven years, and, instead, limited himself only to four years.
“We could not believe that the judge did not show even an inch of leniency to the accused. Also, he accepted none of the defence arguments. It is a conviction, lock, stock and barrel,“ said a defence team member. Perhaps justifying the Rs 130 crore fine, the judge told a stunned defence team: “Do you know the present value of the seizedattached properties? I am leaving that to your imagination.“
Making a last-ditch effort to win a reprieve, the defence team even claimed that Jayalalithaa's conviction would result in a “constitutional crisis“ in TN, and that the 18-year case had made her a diabetic. When the judge remained unmoved, the defence pleaded for NSG protection for Jayalalithaa, a Z-plus category VVIP, inside jail saying she faced grave threat to her life from LTTE and fundamentalist organizations whom she had eradicated from TN. None of these arguments cut ice with the judge.
It may be bad timing for Jayalalithaa that the case should drag on for 18 years and culminate a year after the SC knocked off a protective shield available in the Representative of the People Act for sitting MPs and MLAs, like her.
“If only Section 8(4) of the Act was still alive on the statute, she would not lose the posts instantly . Or, had this verdict come before the SC ruling she would've been spared, as the SC applied it only retrospectively,“ said a jurist. Of course, since it is more than three years, she would have still ended up in jail the same evening when the verdict was read out, he added.
Rule of immediate disqualification
Jayalalithaa ceased to be an MLA with immediate effect. In convictions under other Acts and the IPC, only a sentence of over two years attracts disqualification. But if, as in this case, conviction is under the Prevention of Corruption Act, disqualification is immediate, irrespective of the quantum of jail term. TNN
Disproportionate assets case: conviction/ 2014
October 9, 2014
Jayalalithaa's delaying tactics have ensured there is no easy way out for her
An hour later, those cheers of joy turn into anger as news arrives that the court has denied bail. Within minutes, AIADMK workers organise street protests and sit-ins. Outside Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence, hundreds of women hold the railings and wail. Scenes reminiscent of the day the former chief minister was convicted. Trial and punishment is nothing new for her but the growing anxiety among her supporters stems from the realisation that there is no easy way out this time.
When she was elected as chief minister for the first time back in June 1991, Jayalalithaa's assets were declared at almost Rs.3 crore. Five years later, they had zoomed up to nearly Rs.66 crore. This sudden growth had not gone unnoticed, and there were those waiting to take her down. In 1996, Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK were humiliated by the DMK in the Assembly elections-221 to four. A big part of their election campaign was their promise to bring to book all those who had indulged in corruption during Jayalalithaa's first term. Several cases of corruption were slapped on her by the new government. Along with them, a private complaint was filed by then Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy in 1996, claiming that she had acquired a disproportionate amount of wealth during her term as chief minister.
This September 27, Jayalalithaa, in the middle of her third and most successful spell as chief minister, was pronounced guilty by a special court hearing the disproportionate assets (DA) case and sentenced to four years in prison. Unless the verdict is reversed in appeal, she will be unable to contest elections for 10 years, a consequence that could alter Tamil Nadu politics forever. Five parliamentary elections were held during the pendency of the DA case. The special court hearing her case in Bangalore had five different judges. Jayalalithaa has fought many battles and, by all accounts, had even learnt the lessons of the past. But it was the alleged excesses of those first few years in power that have finally been her undoing.
The Tamil Nadu Principal Sessions Judge asked the police to investigate Swamy's complaint and an FIR was filed by N. Nallamma Naidu, superintendent of police, Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, in September 1996. Naidu and his team of investigators uncovered several illegal land deals within a few months, meticulously charting the money trail involving the various shell companies which were used to purchase land by the former CM and her associates Sasikala Natarajan, J. Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran. Many of these companies were found to be registered out of 36 Poes Garden, Jayalalithaa's official residence. The team had a warrant to search her house but decided to wait.
They then had a stroke of luck. In December 1997, the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Division (CBCID) which was conducting an investigation into another case filed against the AIADMK leader-of alleged financial irregularities in the procurement of colour TVs for village panchayats-decided to raid her house and arrest her. The vigilance officials then turned up to famously discover 1,000 pair of shoes, 25 kg of gold, and 800 kg of silver, among other things.
Even as a detailed charge sheet was being filed in court against Jayalalithaa and her three associates for illegal wealth amassed in India, the DMK found possible links to another set of transactions carried out in the UK for Jayalalithaa through Sasikala's nephew TTV Dinakaran. The case was already being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate but the Tamil Nadu team joined in. By 2000, they thought they had discovered evidence of a hotel and a resort bought illegally in the UK. A charge sheet was promptly filed and the DMK put a lot of faith in the London Hotels case believing that it uncovered an even bigger trail of corruption and illegal land deals.
Trial and delay
Meanwhile, the DA case had started in 1997, and the first problem arose when the Tamil Nadu Principal Sessions Judge declared that he had too many cases before him and asked for additional special courts to be set up to hear corruption cases against politicians. Three additional courts were set up but Jayalalithaa and her co-accused challenged the constitution of these courts and their competence to hear the cases.
Alongside these challenges, Sasikala asked that all the documents in the case be translated to Tamil as she did not understand English. A frustrated prosecution took the matter to the Supreme Court but finally gave in. Nearly a year was wasted in translating all documents and the trial commenced in 1999.
By August 2000, the prosecution had examined all 259 of its witnesses and it was now the defence's turn. It dragged its feet, barely managing to examine eight witnesses. Then, in the summer of 2001, the tables were turned. Jayalalithaa stormed back in the Assembly elections and, though she could not assume power due to her initial conviction in the TANSI case, was back as chief minister by 2002. The defence lawyers sprung into action. Seventy-six witnesses were recalled and 64 of them turned hostile, saying they had testified under pressure.
The Karnataka chapter
In 2003, the DMK became formally involved with the case, with the party's general secretary K. Anbazhagan filing a petition in the Supreme Court asking for the trial to be transferred out of Tamil Nadu. In November 2003, the Supreme Court ordered that the trial be moved to Karnataka and that day-to-day proceedings be conducted. "Be you ever so high, the law is above you," a bench of Justices S.N. Variava and H.K. Sema observed scathingly.
B.V. Acharya, a former advocate general appointed as special public prosecutor by the Karnataka government, immediately faced a setback when the London Hotels case was clubbed with the DA case. It came as a blow to the prosecution, which didn't have a strong enough case for London Hotels and viewed the two cases as separate money trails. In August 2005, the Supreme Court stayed proceedings to decide on the merger of the two cases. The stay would last five years.
The DMK, now back in power after the Assembly elections of 2006, decided to close the hotels case in 2009. In 2010, the prosecution was finally allowed to recall some of the witnesses who had turned hostile and get them to revise their statements. But further delays ensued as applications were moved by Jayalalithaa saying that she could not appear in the special court as the security provided by the Karnataka government was not adequate. Her co-accused, Sasikala, asked that a translator be appointed and that her answers be translated from Tamil to English. She then objected to the use of active voice instead of passive voice and vice versa.
To make matters worse, after Jayalalithaa returned to power in 2011, the Tamil Nadu vigilance directorate wrote to the court saying they would be carrying out further investigations in the case. The Supreme Court quashed this request, calling it an attempt to "frustrate the trial". By now, Acharya was also a target. He had been appointed as advocate general (AG) for a sixth time in 2011 and the accused contended that he could not act as AG as well as special public prosecutor. When Acharya chose to give up the AG's post, another complaint was filed in the state Lokayukta regarding irregularities in an educational trust that he was part of. The proceedings were quashed in the high court but an exhausted Acharya resigned as special public prosecutor in August, 2012.
In February 2013, G. Bhavani Singh was appointed special public prosecutor in the case. Almost immediately, his role became shrouded in controversy. In August, the DMK moved a petition questioning the fairness of court proceedings under him. "The defence had suddenly reduced the number of its witnesses and we noticed that he had allowed the Tamil Nadu Deputy SP of Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to be listed as a defence witness. Which investigating officer would appear as a defence witness?" asked a DMK functionary tracking the case.
When a complaint was filed against Singh in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government intervened and removed him saying that his was not one of the names originally considered for the post. Then, in a surreal move, the accused moved an application to keep him on as public prosecutor as well as the judge who was to retire on September 30. "Nobody had ever seen a case where the accused asked for a certain prosecutor to stay on. Incredibly, the reason given was that the accused had a right to speedy trial," a lawyer present at the proceedings said.
The Supreme Court allowed Singh to continue but the judge in question, M.S. Balakrishna, chose to retire. After 17 years, the most significant moment in the case came in October 2013, when the Karnataka High Court appointed Special Judge John Michael D'Cunha. A former district judge who had been registrar of vigilance at the Karnataka High Court, D'Cunha ensured that the case moved without delay, finishing the remaining arguments in less than a year. In one notable instance, he even fined Singh Rs.60,000 for not turning up in court for two days.
The role of the public prosecutor Bhavani Singh continues to be controversial. According to news reports from Jayalalithaa's bail hearing in the high court on October 7, the prosecution had initially objected in writing to the accused being given bail. Later, inexplicably, they changed their stance to say they had no objection if the accused were given conditional bail.
The Karnataka High Court refused bail and, according to legal experts, no court is likely to give bail anytime soon given the nature of in the case. Even Lalu Prasad Yadav, they point out, was in jail for 10 months. In his case, the Bihar government notified a guest house as a jail, and kept him there in comfort. But with the proceedings moving out of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa forfeited the chance of any such arrangement. She seemed to believe that there was no chance of a conviction or that the case would simply go on indefinitely. The road ahead looks far more difficult now.
Arithmetical error in Karnataka high court's verdict
The Times of India, May 13 2015
HC got its maths wrong in Jaya case: Special prosecutor
The special public prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case against J Jayalalithaa and three others claimed that there was a glaring arithmetical error in Karnataka high court's verdict. Justice C R Kumaraswamy had acquitted all four in his 919-page verdict. SPP B V Acharya said if the mathematical mistake was set right, the quantum of disproportionate assets owned by Jayalalithaa would be in excess of 76% of her known sources of income and not 8.12%, the figure arrived at by the HC. The acquittal was premised on a Supreme Court judgment permitting disproportionate assets less than 10% of the known income.
Acharya referred to page 852 of the verdict, where the judge had calculated the loans that 10 companies of the accused had borrowed from nationalized banks, and page 913, where the disproportionate assets were quantified. “The total loan amount is calculated at Rs 24, 17, 31,274 (page 852). However, if added correctly, it sums up to Rs 10, 67, 31,274. This fundamental mistake in adding the individual loan amount has inflated the income by Rs 13.5 crore,“ Acharya told TOI. “The wrong figure has been used in the end (page 913) to calculate the accused's income and also the disproportionate assets. The total assets have been shown as Rs 37, 59,02,466, the income as Rs 34,76,65,654 and the differential amount as Rs 2,82,36,812. Using these figures, the judgment puts the disproportionate assets at 8.12% of her income. But if added properly , it would be 76.70%,“ the SPP said.
Acharya said for the future course all options were under consideration, including filing of an SLP before the apex court, as the glaring mistake had come to the prosecution's notice.
The prosecution had calculated Rs 66.65 crore as disproportionate assets based on the cost of construction of buildings owned by the accused and the expenses incurred on the lavish marriage of Jayalalithaa's foster son VN Sudhakaran, the third accused in the disproportionate assets case.However, the trial court had slashed the amount to Rs 53.60 crore, holding the trial court's figures as exaggerated.
Take the case to SC: PMK chief to Karnataka CM
The Times of India May 14 2015
Delegation hands over letter to CM Siddaramaiah
PMK president G K Mani and legal wing leader K Balu met Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru on Wednesday and presented a letter from their party chief S Ramadoss. The letter urged the Karnataka government to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the order passed by Justice C R Kumaraswamy , of the Karnataka high court, who acquitted AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and three others in the disproportionate wealth case.
“We met the chief minister at his residence and asked him to pursue the case in the Supreme Court. He promised to consult the legal department and advocate general and decide,“ said Balu. After meeting the chief minister, the PMK team also called on the chief secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, special public prosecutor B V Acharya and advocate general Ravi Varma Kumar.
“The AG said it was a fit case for appeal as there are clerical and accounting errors and we have a good case,“ said Balu. Acharya too is in favour of moving the Supreme Court though this was not about DMK or AIADMK but a way to root out corruption, said Balu.
Meanwhile, opposition parties in Tamil Nadu continued to air their displeasure at the order passed by Justice Kumaraswamy . PMK chief S Ramadoss, who had earlier slammed the “glaring arithmetic error“ in the verdict, found fault with the way the court assessed the gifts she had received.“On pages 853 and 854, the order mentions gifts received by Jayalalithaa on her birthday . The judge has added `1.50 crore as income which is against the law,“ said Ramadoss. “Though it is common for politicians to get gifts on their birthdays, no minister or chief minister can receive any gifts during their term in office. Thus it is illegal for Jayalalithaa to receive gifts while being chief minister and it is even more intriguing how it can be treated as income.“
The gifts case is pending before the Supreme Court and approving the act of taking a gift and including it as income sets a bad precedent for other politicians, the PMK chief said. Considering all these facts the Karnataka government should go on appeal against the judgment, he said.
Denying reports that he had greeted Jayalalithaa on her acquittal, MDMK chief Vaiko said the foundation (of the case) had collapsed due to an arithmetic error in the verdict.“This has been confirmed by experienced advocate Acharya. There is a Himalayan difference between truth and justice in this case,“ he said.
Need four days to read order: Karnataka minister
Even as pressure mounted on the Karnataka government to file an appeal in the apex court against the high court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa, the government kept cards close to the chest. Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said the government is consulting legal experts. “We need three to four days to read the judgment . Once it's done, we will consult experts to take a decision,“ Karnataka law and parliamentary affairs minister T B Jayachandra said.
Prosecutor without voice
The Times of India, May 12 2015
India will rarely ever see a case stranger than the disproportion ate wealth case which former chief minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa had been battling for about 19 years. This is the first case and hopefully the last which got a prosecutor after the court concerned completed the proceedings and reserved the matter for judgment. Justice C R Kumaraswamy of Karnataka high court reserved orders in the wealth case appeals on March 11, 2015, but the appeals got a legal special prosecutor only after the Supreme Court order on April 27, 2015. In the end, a corruption case with immense socio-political consequence has been decided without a prosecutor's arguments in court.All that Justice Kumaraswamy had before him were special judge John Michael Cunha's 1,067-page judgment, and written arguments of new special prosecutor B V A ch a r ya , S u b r a m a n i a n Swamy and K Anbazhagan.
She faced the ignominy of being convicted thrice in the Pleasant Stay Hotels case, TANSI case and the disproportionate assets case after being prose cuted by an agency which took orders from her own government. “It is like a servant prosecuting the master.As the chief minister, she was simultaneously boss of the directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption (DVAC), and an accused before the same agency,“ said a former prosecutor. “Therefore, when it won its case featuring Jayalaltihaa, the agency must have laughed inside and wept outside,“ he said.
Supreme Court Judgement/ Feb 2017
The Supreme Court [in Feb 2017] dealt a body blow to Jayalalitha's `friend and sister' V K Sasikala's vaulting ambition to be chief minister of Tamil Nadu by ordering that she be sent back to jail immediately to serve out the remaining three years, 10 months and 27 days of a four-year sentence for corruption, handed down to her by a trial court in Sep tember 2014.
In a unanimous judgment on a 21-year-old case of disproportionate assets, which also bars her from holding public office for 10 years, a two-judge SC bench “unhesitatingly“ set aside the Karnataka HC's judgment “erroneously“ acquitting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others in May 2015 and upheld the conviction of the trial court, which it found to be “flawless“.
Snuffing out her chances to succeed her “friend and sister“ J Jayalalithaa as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court convicted AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala in a 21-year-old disproportionate assets case on Tuesday and ordered her to be jailed forthwith to serve out a four-year jail term. In a unanimous judgment, a bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy “unhesitatingly“ set aside Karnataka High Court's judgment “erroneously“ acquitting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others in May 2015.
The conviction means Sasikala cannot contest elections for 10 years: a ban which will extend beyond the next two assembly polls. Under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, a mere conviction without sentence under Prevention of Corruption Act disqualifies a person from contesting elections for six years. This section also disqualifies any person, who has been convicted and sentenced to “not less than two years“ imprisonment for any offence, for six years after serving out the jail term.
The order eliminated Sasikala as a possible successor of Jayalalithaa.
The bench restored in totality the September 27, 2014 verdict of a Bengaluru trial court convicting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, VN Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi in the DA case under Preven tion of Corruption Act and sentenced each of them to four years imprisonment. The case was registered by a Chennai trial court in1996 on a complaint filed by Subramanian Swamy .Although the case against Jayalalithaa has abated following her death, the court has ordered that the Rs100 crore fine slapped on the former CM be realised.
The SC said, “In our comprehension, the course adopted by the trial court cannot be faulted with.“ The trial court had convicted all four, holding Jayalalithaa to be the kingpin and the three others to be willing accomplices in amassing disproportionate wealth of over Rs 53.60 crore. It had sentenced each to four years imprisonment. It had also imposied a Rs 10 crore fine each on Sasikala and the two others.
The convictions were, however, upturned by the HC whichheld that the mismatch between the assets of the quartet and their legal sources of income was less than 10% allowed under the law.
Sasikala had spent 13 days in prison after she had surrendered before the trial court on January 31, 1997 till she was granted bail on February 12, 1997. She was taken back to jail along with Jayalalithaa on September 27, 2014 after the trial court convicted her. With Jayalalithaa, she was released after 20 days when the SC granted bail to them on October 17, 2014.Thus, she has undergone 33 days imprisonment. This means, she will have to be in jail for a further period of three years, 10 months and 27 days.
The razor sharp main judgment, running into 563 pages and authored by Justice Ghose, shredded the defence of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala in the DA case. The bench found the trial court verdict to be flawless. It said, “Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi would surrender before the trial court forthwith.The trial court is ordered to take immediate steps to ensure that Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi serve out the remainder sentence awarded to them and take further steps in compliance with the SC's judgment...“
Referring to the May 11, 2015 HC judgment by Justice C R Kumaraswamy acquitting Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and others, the bench said, “We are of the unhesitant opinion that the impugned judgment and order of the HC suffers from manifest errors.“ It praised trial court judge Michael D'Cunha's meticulous scrutiny of evidence, wisdom in discarding evidence that was immaterial and leniency in giving benefit of doubt on documents to allow the accused to narrow the gap between income and expenditure.
The SC said the trial court was meticulous, sensitive, vigilant and judicious in appraisal.In valuing assets, it excluded a Rs 32 lakh towards price of sarees and further reduced the value of gold and diamond to the extent of Rs 2 crore, the SC said.
SC orders seizure of Jaya's assets to recover Rs 100cr fine
J Jayalalithaa's death may have abated the criminal case against her but her properties and bank accounts, including those of V K Sasikala and two others, will not escape confiscation and forfeiture to realise the Rs 100 crore fine imposed on her by the trial court.
A Supreme Court bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy said, “We are of the opinion that the order of confiscationforfeiture of properties standing in the name of six companies, as involved, made by the trial court is unexceptionable.“ The SC upheld the trial court order imposing a fine of Rs10 crore each on Sasikala, V N Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi, who were also sentenced to four years imprisonment.
“In any view of the matter, the peremptory termination of the criminal proceedings resultant on this pronouncement, the direction of the trial court towards confiscationforfeiture of the attached property , as mentioned therein, is hereby restored and would be construed to be an order of this court,“ it said.
The SC also saw through the conspiracy hatched by Jayalalithaa in league with the other accused to amass disproportionate assets and rejected her plea feigning ignorance about the activities of Sasikala and the two others. “ Although Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi claim to have independent sources of income, the fact of constitution of firms and acquisition of large tracts of land out of funds provided by Jayalalithaa indicate that all the accused congregated at Jayalalithaa's residence (Poes Garden) neither for social living nor Jayalalithaa allowed them free accommodation out of humanitarian concern, rather the facts and circumstances proved in evidence undoubtedly point out that Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarasi were accommodated in Jayalalithaa's house pursuant to criminal conspiracy hatched by them to hold Jayalalithaa's assets,“ the bench said.
In his `thin' supplement to the main judgment against Sasikala, Justice Amitava Roy packed a punch of judicial angst against rampant spread of corruption and called for a collective effort to stamp out this menace gnawing the nation's vitals. Justice Roy said facts of the DA case “demonstrate a deep rooted conspiratorial design to amass vast assets without any compunction and hold the same through shell entities to cover up the sinister trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceive and delude the process of law.“
“Novelty in the outrages and the magnitude of the nefarious gains as demonstrated by the revelations in the case are, to say the least, startling,“ he said.
He also said the uncontrolled spread of corruption has left the honest numb, dejected and disillusioned.
A voluminous judgement
There's a Guinness World Record possibility here: three courts together penned judgments running into 2,625 pages in the 21-yearold disproportionate assets case against J Jayalalithaa, N Sasikala, V N Sudhakaran and J Elavarasi.
Trial judge Michael D'Cunha convicted all four and sentenced them to four years' imprisonment through a 1,136-page judgment that was upheld on Tuesday by a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Pinaki C Ghose and Amitava Roy .
Justices Ghose and Roy together wrote 563 pages in convicting and sentencing Sasikala and the two others as the case against Jayalalithaa abated with her death. The page count went up to 570 with Justice Roy supplementing the main judgment with seven pages of judicial angst on the spread of corruption. While upholding the trial court verdict, the SC set aside the 919-page judgment authored by Justice C R Kumaraswamy of the Karnataka high court, which had acquitted all four.
The volume was not lost on the SC bench. At 10.32 am, when the court staff opened a thick packet and drew out the judgment to hand it over to Justice Ghose for pronouncement of the verdict, it drew exclamations from the packed courtroom. With his characteristic disarming smile, Justice Ghose said, “You can see it is a fatty judgment. But we have discharged the burden cast on us through this case.“
Abuse of power
Lived last 10 years of life in house ‘attached’ by I-T dept
For about 10 years preceding her death, former chief minister Jayalalithaa was living in a house that had been attached by the I-T department for dues amounting to Rs 16.74 crore.
The fact tumbled out in Madras high court on Thursday, when the I-T department said Veda Nilayam — Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence — was under attachment with the department from 2007. Besides Veda Nilayam, three other properties — two in Chennai and one in Hyderabad — were also under attachment too, said A P Srinivas, senior standing counsel for the department.
The submissions were made during the hearing of a PIL to restrain the state government from converting Veda Nilayam into a memorial, filed by social activist K R Ramaswamy.
Recently, the court had asked the I-T department for its objections, if any, in converting the house into a memorial. Srinivas sought two weeks to file another affidavit giving position of assessments, appeals (if any), stand of the department in the matter of recovery and whether they have any objection to the relief claimed in present petition.
In response to the query, advocate-general Vijay Narayan submitted that such tax dues could be cleared with compensation by state. Recording the submissions, the bench adjourned the plea to February 7 for further hearing.
Did 'retribution define the statecraft of Jayalalithaa’?
2001: arrest of Karunanidhi, other DMK leaders
Karunanidhi and other DMK leaders may be out of jail, but retribution and rehabilitation continue to define the statecraft of Jayalalitha.
The midnight knock is a defining motif in the history of dictatorship. Remember those familiar images from the extinct empires of paranoia: enemies vanishing into the thickness of night, never to return.
Thanks to Dr Puratchi Thalaivi J. Jayalalitha, the raging empress of Tamil Nadu, that image has been Indianised, rather Dravidianised. She has made it a pre-dawn knock.
In a crackdown at about 2 a.m. on June 30, 2001, former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi was dragged out of his bedroom in his Oliver Road residence in Chennai. For the 78-year-old DMK leader, it was a show torture in the glare of TV cameras - one frail, old man against 10 policemen, as swift and severe as Gestapos, before he was put in jail.
Others arrested included Union ministers Murasoli Maran, who also happens to be the nephew of Karunanidhi, and T.R. Baalu, former municipal administration minister Ko Si Mani and former chief secretary K.A. Nambiar. Maran, a heart patient, who reached the spot on hearing about his uncle's arrest, was apparently physically assaulted by the police.
He had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Apollo Hospital. Karunanidhi's son M.K. Stalin, prime accused in the flyover scam, the excuse for the crackdown, surrendered a few hours later. Twenty journalists were also taken into custody.
The George Fernandes-led NDA team that visited Karunanidhi in the Central Prison recommended President's rule. The big casualty was Governor Fathima Beevi, whom the Centre decided to recall as she had failed to "objectively reflect the situation in Tamil Nadu".
That sent a strong warning to Jayalalitha, who ordered the release of the two Union ministers on July 3 and that of the DMK chief the next day. Perhaps Amma did not want to antagonise the Centre beyond a point. "She did not want a fight with the Centre. There are a number of issues that require Delhi's help. In sorting out issues like the sharing of the Krishna river water, we need Central assistance," said an AIADMK MP in Delhi. She sent her Law and Finance Minister Thiru C. Ponnaiyan and Education Minister Thambidurai, armed with the police version of the arrest, to the capital. Says AIADMK MP Malaiswamy of the team's meeting with Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley: "He was not only a lawyer. He proved to be a judge."
The release order, intimated to the media over the phone by the PR division of the state secretariat, read: "Taking into consideration the advanced age of Karunanidhi, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalitha, has ordered his release on humanitarian grounds. However, the cases against him will continue to be proceeded in the court of law." Humanism, the joke went unnoticed.
Unlike his less fortunate counterparts in history, Karunanidhi is back from darkness, however, to tell his story. "Mohammad Ali (CB-CID DIG) pulled me down by my right hand and I got sprained in the shoulder," he said at a press conference on July 4 after his release. "I can't raise my hand... this is the hand I write with..." He said his legs were swollen after the torture. "As such I cannot stand for more than a couple of minutes. As they dragged me down the stairs, my legs banged against each stair."
The case against Karunanidhi, Stalin and 12 others relates to alleged financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 12 crore in the construction of 10 flyovers in Chennai. What was on display on June 30 was the Amma's irrepressible urge for retribution. Says an AIADMK insider: "Madam is not as interested in the strength of the charges filed as she is to see them behind bars for at least one day."
If things go wrong for Jayalalitha, it could go terribly so. The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is yet to decide on her eligibility as chief minister. Some bureaucrats believe Amma is in a hurry, for she is unsure about her own continuance as chief minister after six months. Arresting Stalin and Karunanidhi was a political temptation she could not resist.
Style during her second term as CM
True, Jayalalitha has made a conscious effort to look different in her second term. She spent more time at her Poes Garden residence than in the Secretariat during her 1991-96 tenure. In her second coming, she has made it a point to be at the Chief Minister's Office at sharp 10 a.m. At 1.30 p.m., she comes out to hear the complaints and requests of the people. She has held four cabinet meetings since she took over.
Insiders say she comes prepared with questions and any fumbling minister has to face the music. The cabinet meetings are more of warnings and chidings than discussions-the leader against the minions. Sources say she consults a few people on different matters, but does not tolerate criticism. "Madam listens to everyone and takes her own decision," says a Poes Garden source.
Within a month of her swearing in, on June 9, Jayalalitha sacked three of her Cabinet ministers- A. Vaandayar (human resources), V. Jayaraman (industries) and A.R. Viswanathan (civil supplies). The fourth, A. Venkatachalam, was sacked on June 26. None of these decisions was discussed by the Cabinet. "When Amma chides any minister for not having ready answers, it is a clear indication of a bigger punishment," says an insider.
The "Jaya Raj" is defined by rehabilitation and retribution. For instance, of the 25-member Cabinet, 21 are first timers, of whom 15 are first-time MLAs. Of the old timers, the choice of Ponnaiyan as finance and law minister is significant. He is the second in command. He was the law minister in the MGR ministry in the 1980s, he quit active politics after Anna's death.
He joined the AIADMK just before the Assembly elections. According to party sources, Ponnaiyan won Amma's confidence because of his "high-level contacts" in the judiciary. "Amma believes Ponnaiyan, as law minister, will help her to come out of the 13 corruption cases that are pending against her in the three special courts," said an AIADMK MLA.
And she is busy "rehabilitating" some of the IAS and IPS officials who were close to her during her earlier rule. Former chief secretary N. Hari Bhaskar, who is involved in a series of corruption cases, is back in Poes Garden. According to sources, Bhaskar has emerged as a key adviser to her on IAS officials' postings.
About 25 IAS officials and an equal number of non-IAS bureaucrats, who are still facing corruption charges (either in the court of law or in the form of departmental inquiry) are active in the state Secretariat.
"My Government will rehabilitate all those government officials who faced vindictive action in the previous regime," Jayalalitha recently announced in the Assembly. "It is sickening to see all of them back, dictating terms to upright officials," lamented a senior IAS officer.
The most surprising "rehabilitation" was the appointment of C.S. Janakiraman as the Legislative Assembly's principle secretary. Janakiraman was the assembly secretary during Jayalalitha's regime and he created history by rewriting the assembly records to suit "Jayalalitha's sentiments". As a reward, she gave him a three-year extension till 1996. Now he is is back as principal secretary, above Assembly Secretary V. Rajaraman.
And the honest are being hounded out. The very first day in office, she closed down the Chief Minister's Secretariat comprising six IAS officers appointed by Karunanidhi. The new Secretariat is functioning from a nearby room. Mere suspicion is enough for the sack, as was in the case of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Chairman R. Poornalingam, who is currently on "compulsory wait until further orders".
According to AIADMK sources, his crime was the "unexplained, sudden power cut minutes after she was sworn in as chief minister on May 14 evening". Ten IAS officers have been placed on compulsory wait without any posting in the past two weeks. Sources say the list may grow further.
The case of IPS officers is worse. Her main targets were those who handled various corruption cases against her during the DMK rule. Former DGP W.I. Dawaram, who is now heading the Special Task Force's operations against Veerappan, is said to be the real police "force" in Tamil Nadu today.
There are more then 15 IPS officers who are seen as "pro-DMK" and are kept in the "compulsory waiting list". As one dejected police officer put it, "There are two DGPs in Tamil Nadu - the official DGP R. Rajagopalan, who came to the post during the DMK government, and the retired Dawaram, who enjoys Amma's trust."
Even journalists are not spared. Suresh, a reporter of Sun TV, was arrested while accompanying former minister K. Ponmudi, who went on a surprise check of rice godowns in Villupuram to disprove Jayalalitha's charge that the foodgrains were rotten.
Every midnight-knock society is subordinated to the paramount leader. The evolutionary tale of Dravidian politics has been a long vaudeville of dark enemies and shining heroes, most of them in dark glasses.
Today the heroine is the Greatest Helmswoman, and she is angry and bitter. Karunanidhi, in the middle of of his pre-dawn trauma, scribbled on a reporter's notebook: aram vellum (truth shall prevail). What's truth, the Helmswoman may ask, and her stormtroopers may not even wait for an answer.
Her lieutenants in 2001
T.C. Ponnaiyan: The state finance and law minister is virtually the second in command.Jayalalitha believes he can, as law minister, bail her out of the 13 corruption cases pending against her and help her contest the assembly elections within the six months time frame.
N. Hari Bhaskar: In spite of being involved in many corruption cases, this former chief secretary is back in Poes Garden as key adviser on IAS postings.
W.I. Dawaram: Now heading STF's operations against Veerappan, the former DGP "enjoys Amma's trust". According to a dejected police officer, he is the unofficial police chief.
2013: Did Jaya jail doctor for asking her to remove her shoes?
Doctors in Chennai are set to hold a protest rally on 6 April  against the Tamil Nadu government over the arrest of 70-year-old N Karunanidhi. Dr Karunanidhi, a retired government doctor, was the personal physician of B Sivanthi Adityan, owner of Tamil daily Dinathanthi, who was then admitted in Apollo Hospitals.
The septuagenarian doctor at the Apollo Speciality Hospital found the police at his doorstep late on the night of 28 March , and discovered he was being arrested.
According to the Week, the rumour is that the doctor asked the Chief Minister to comply with the rule of taking off footwear before entering the ICU, something she didn't take very kindly to. Whether she complied isn't known.
The hapless doctor spent a night at the Puzhal prison before being released on bail.
2014: Reshuffles cabinet frequently, harsh with critics
Jayalalithaa's Discipline or Dictatorship?
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK Chief J Jayalalithaa expelled former two-time MP K Malaisamy from her party, a day after he suggested she would join hands with the BJP. In her statement Ms Jayalalithaa cites "violating party's principles and bringing disrepute to party" as reasons for expelling him from the primary membership of the party.
Mr K Malaisamy, a retired IAS Officer was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 and at the end of his term nominated to the Rajya Sabha inn 2004.
Party cadre justify Ms Jayalalithaa's action. Many say alliance issue is a policy decision of the party and the party's General Secretary alone can talk about it. Some say through his statement the self-styled spokesperson has betrayed Ms Jayalalithaa's Prime Ministerial ambitions and diluted her bargaining power with potential allies. Mr Kumar a party functionary told NDTV, "In our party only Amma can speak, nobody can speak. When someone violates party discipline publicity this is what would happen".
But analysts are not surprised by Ms Jayalithaa'a actions. Many point out that the she has reshuffled her cabinet 13 times over the last three years, dropping several Ministers and reinstating some. She has also dropped candidates after they were formally announced. The Chief Minister they say made things hard for some bureaucrats as well including DGP rank IPS Officer Ms Archana Ramasundaram and another IPS Officer Ms Sathya Priya. Even the Assembly Speaker Mr Jayakumar was shown the door, with no reasons made public. Mr G C Shekar, Associate Editor, The Telegraph says "Jayalalithaa has been a dictatorial politician. There are no two opinions about that. Everyone knows in AIADMK everything starts with Jayalalithaa and ends with Jayalalithaa. Even the so called meetings she chairs are only for the sake of EC norms and public consumption, but she makes her own decisions.
The politician at the receiving end, Mr Malaisamy himself was inaccessible for his comments the whole day.
Call it Ms Jayalalithaa's discipline or dictatorship, clearly she's keeping the cards close to her chest till the numbers are officially out, be it for her Prime Ministerial ambition or supporting the new government.
2016: converting dictatorship into benevolent motherhood
Psychology has the answer to how Jayalalitha has converted dictatorship to benevolent motherhood
J.Jayalalithaa is to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week—a victory lap as she begins her sixth term as Tamil Nadu chief minister; her first visit to Delhi after two years. Amma is riding high and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) needs her. She will present a list of requirements and Modi will likely woo her to strengthen the BJP’s ties with her party.
I called friends and family in Tindivanam, Kumbakonam and Madurai to get their view, not only on the forthcoming Delhi trip but also about how Amma managed to pull off this resounding election victory. The responses came fast and furious, but they were clichéd and unsurprising; ones that I had heard before. She was born under the “magam nakshatram” or star, said one. No wonder she is ruling the world, or at least Tamil Nadu. She is the lesser of the two evils. Who wants M. Karunanidhi with all the family infighting?
My analysis is rooted not in politics but psychology. Jayalalithaa is a superb politician—gritty and resilient, rising like a phoenix after defeat and savouring power. She may have won the election because she has taken the freebie culture to a new level. But the reason she has prevailed is because she—like most good politicians—is adept at what psychology calls “framing”.
The reason Jayalalithaa is so good, the reason she has lasted this long in the pugnacious, sometimes puerile world of Tamil Nadu politics, is because she has learnt to frame the world to suit her ideology; to convert insults into infomercials. She learnt this not now, when she is reigning queen of the sycophants around her, but on the way up, when she was a stumbling starlet and novice politician. She learnt it early on when men in starched dhotis called her names. She learnt it when men—and they were usually men—in her own party treated her with contempt and eventually betrayed her; when the public ousted her even though she believed she was doing her best to help them; when even the courts had her arrested. For a woman with as much hubris as Amma, the list of pinpricks is long.
It cannot have been easy for this comely, fetching former actor. She rose to power under M.G. Ramachandran; ousted his widow from the chief minister’s chair; and has been scrambling, fighting and defending her position ever since. Unlike her nemesis, Karunanidhi, she has no family.
Along the way, she cultivated a thick skin and political savvy. She made enemies and gained resilience. She took control and got even. She settled scores without flinching. She wore body armour when the death threats came fast and furious. Quite simply, Jayalalithaa learnt to convert her rage into rhetoric. And what rhetoric that is. She isn’t in the same league as Modi, who speaks without a script, but Jayalalithaa knows how to use metaphor and timing. She speaks with pause and gravitas and knows how to raise and inflect her voice for maximum results. “Only the mother knows what her children need,” she said at an election rally in Virudhachalam in April, riffing on her title “Amma”, which means mother.
To convert dictatorship into benevolent motherhood is the power of framing and Amma’s genius.
Shoba Narayan once asked Jayalalithaa what her favourite ragam was and Amma replied, “Abheri”.
2016: People arrested for rumours about the CM’s ‘health’
As during her life, people were scared to speak their mind during Dr.J Jayalalithaa’s prolonged illness. At least eight people were Arrested For Spreading Rumours about the Revolutionary Leader’s ‘Health,’ i.e. for spreading false rumours to the effect that the Puratch Thalaivi had died, that Amma was dead, several weeks before the Amma’s actual demise.
Amma means ‘mother.’
Such was the atmosphere of terror during those 74 days that a story went around that a teacher asked a schoolboy why he had been absent from school during the previous days.
The schoolboy said in Tamil, ‘Because Aathimozhi died.’
‘Who is Aathimozhi?’ the teacher asked.
‘My father’s wife,’ the boy replied.
‘Then why don’t you say that your Amma is dead?’ the teacher asked.
‘Because I don’t want to be sent to jail.’
CHENNAI: A 28-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly spreading rumours about the health of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on social media. He is the eighth man to be arrested over the issue.
Chennai police have confirmed the arrest. They say an FIR has been filed and is now in custody for further questioning. It is not clear though what Sagayam, a resident of Tuticorin, had shared on social media.
The family said Sagayam, a shopkeeper, was picked up from home this morning by a police team. Sagayam is married and has a 3-month old child.
The police, they say, had come to question him regarding his passport. Later, they were told that he was being taken to Chennai for questioning regarding spreading rumours about Jayalalithaa's health.
"He just forwarded a post that some friend had sent him. He is not affiliated to any political party. We will fight for justice and makes sure he gets out," said Selvarani, Sagayam's mother.
The police action over spreading of rumours on Jayalalithaa's health - which has been criticized as an overdrive in many quarters -- had started earlier this month as the Chief Minister's hospital stay prolonged.
So far around 50 cases have been registered and the police have warned of a seven-year jail term for those found guilty.
AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, has justified the police action, saying, "The police and the party issued warnings and only when they did not stop have they been arrested.".
The hugely popular Chief Minister has been hospitalized since September 22, and the long stretches without updates on her health from the hospital had caused much concern among her supporters. The level of concern even induced the Madras High Court to order the government to release regular bulletins.
'The Queen of Defamation Suits’
As in her previous two stints, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has once again turned to defamation suits to take on rivals and media critics.
On Monday [Aug 2012], her government sued DMDK leader Vijayakant and The Hindu. Vijayakant had attacked her at a public meeting, saying that amid corruption and rising prices, she was away "taking a long break from work"; the daily had published this.
Last week, the city public prosecutor sued the Tamil edition of India Today for a story suggesting that Jaya had dropped AIADMK minister K A Sengottaiyan at the insistence of her close aide Sasikala.
In January 2012 there was a case against Nakkeeran, a biweekly soft towards the DMK, for alleging Jaya had eaten beef and claiming she herself had said so years ago. Party activists attacked its office on January 7. The matter ended with a note of "heartfelt regret" from the editor in a later edition.
Nakkeeran was at the receiving end of 146 cases during Jaya's first stint in 1991-96. Its editor R R Gopal was imprisoned under POTA during her second stint.
When The Hindu reported the attack on Nakkeeran, it carried portions of the report and was dragged into the case. The Hindu faced some 20 cases during Jaya's second stint, including one in 2003 when Assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu ordered the arrest of its then editor and a reporter along with others for breach of privilege.
Another case this year has been against eveninger Tamil Murasu and DMK leader M K Stalin after it published his allegation that Jaya had usurped the land of poor Dalits.
Next were Murasoli and its editor S Selvam, related to DMK's M Karunanidhi, for a report that Jaya was connected to illegal sand mining. Biweekly Junior Vikatan faced cases for reports about a yagna allegedly performed at the Chief Minister's residence; about a young woman, Priya Mahalakshmi, who claimed she was Jaya's daughter; and about a supposed meeting between her and Ravanan, a Sasikala relative ousted from the inner circle.
2012-16: 213 defamation cases
In the last five years, it has filed 213 defamation cases against political opponents and media houses for “derogatory statements” against chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Reporting on the CM’s vacations, criticising her government for water scarcity or not fulfilling poll promises have all been termed derogatory.
These details were submitted to the Supreme Court on August 17 that had on July 29 asked the Jayalalithaa government to give a list of defamation cases after one of the opposition leaders, DMDK’s Vijayakanth, sought relief in one such case.
A large number of people are facing proceedings for making wild allegations against the chief minister, says the affidavit that lists cases registered between May 16, 2011 and July 28, 2016.
Opponents accuse Jayalalithaa of silencing critics and harassing them through such cases as an accused is expected to be present at every hearing. Arrest orders can be issued for missing a court date.
India is one of the few countries with both civil and criminal defamation proceedings. Punishment can vary from up to two years in prison or a fine or both.
Pulling up the Jayalalithaa government, a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra had said criticising a government as corrupt on unfit didn’t amount to defamation,
Jayalalithaa is serving a sixth term as the chief minister after she was returned to office in May.
Fifty-five of the cases are against media, Tamil Nadu government’s affidavit says. But, most of the ruling AIADMK’s anger is directed at arch rival DMK, which faces 85 cases. For decades, the two parties have taken turns to rule the state and are bitter rivals.
Partner-turned-foe DMDK has 48 cases against it. Of these, 28 are against its leader Vijayakanth, a former actor who had several fiery exchanges with Jayalalithaa.
The trial was yet to begin in many cases, his lawyer GS Mani told HT. “The accused is required to be present on every date of hearing. A non-bailable warrant is issued in case of an absence,” Mani said.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy faces five cases for tweets against the Jayalalithaa government. The PMK has nine cases and the Congress seven.
The Jaya government seems to be getting increasingly upset with its critics. It lodged 120 defamation cases between 2002 and 2006. Before it, the DMK government filed 40 cases during its five years in office beginning 2006.
Defamation, described as a “reasonable restriction” on free speech in Constitution, has been a topic of debate. Free speech advocates see it as a tool to silence critics and suppress dissent.
In May last, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of criminal defamation law -- Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code that prescribes two-year jail term or fine or both for damaging someone’s reputation.
“When reputation is hurt, a man is half-dead. It cannot be crucified at the altar of one’s right to free speech,” the court said. It rejected the petitions filed by Swamy, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Defamation can’t be used as a political tool, the court said while hearing Vijayakanth’s petition in which he has asked for guidelines for public prosecutors who clear defamation cases filed by governments.
Prosecution must apply his mind before granting sanction and not behave like a post office, the actor had said. Aspirations and sometimes desperation of the people are expressed through such criticism, he had argued.
Misuse of defamation law in Tamil Nadu
213 defamation cases filed by Jayalalithaa government against political opponents and media houses in last five years
55 defamation cases filed against media
85 cases against leaders of opposition DMK and 48 cases against DMDK out of which 28 were against its leader Vijaykanth alone.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy faces five defamation cases for tweeting against Jayalalithaa government
PMK and Congress face 9 and 7 defamation cases respectively.
During its rule between 2002 and 2006 AIADMK government had lodged 120 defamation complaints.
Its predecessor DMK government had filed 40 cases during 2006-2011.
Defamation cases are not a political weapon: SC
The Supreme court also sought the list of defamation cases of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa against her critics. The penal provision on defamation should not be used to throttle dissent, the bench said.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said defamation cases should not be used as a political counter weapon against critics of governments and stayed non-bailable warrants (NBW) issued against DMDK Chief and actor politician Vijayakanth and his wife Premlata in such a matter.
“Anyone calling a government corrupt or unfit cannot be slapped with defamation case,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman said.
The apex court further said, “there has to be tolerance to criticism…defamation cases cannot be used as a political counter weapon. Cases for criticizing the government or bureaucrats create a chilling effect.”
It also sought the list of defamation cases filed by the public prosecutors in Tamil Nadu on behalf of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa against her critics in two weeks. The penal provision on defamation (section 499 and 500 of the IPC) should not be used to throttle dissent, the bench said, adding that the court must step in, if there are continuous efforts to harass persons by filing a number of defamation cases.
The bench told the counsel for Tamil Nadu government that there should not be abuse of defamation provisions. A Tirupur trial court had yesterday issued a non-bailable warrant against Vijayakanth and his wife after they failed to appear before the court with regard to the defamation case against them.
The case lodged by Public Prosecutor of Tirupur district was on the allegation that they made false remarks against Jayalalithaa and criticised the functioning of the State government on November 6, 2015.
Earlier, the apex court had issued notice to Jayalalithaa on a plea by Vijayakanth seeking stay on proceedings on a criminal defamation case filed against him through public prosecutor.
Besides Jayalalithaa, the court has also issued notice to the public prosecutor who has filed the defamation case.
“A sustained democracy is predicated fundamentally on the idea of criticism, dissent, and tolerance, for the will, desire, aspirations and sometimes the desperation of the people on many an occasion are expressed through such criticism,” the bench had said while reproducing the submission made by DMDK counsel G S Mani.
Jayalalithaa, the incumbent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was admitted to Apollo hospital in Chennai In Sept 2016. According to a news report, the hospital said that she was admitted due to fever and dehydration. Life came to an uncomfortable standstill for millions of her supporters, who saw light only in her.
[After waiting for twenty days, when there was no sign of Jayalalithaa’s quick recovery] the Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao allocated the portfolios held by her to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, but said the AIADMK leader will continue to be the chief minister. First Post, Oct 12, 2016
"Under Clause (3) of Article 166 of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Tamil Nadu today allocated the subjects hitherto dealt by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to O Panneerselvam," a Raj Bhavan press release said.
This was the third time in his career that the 'Amma' loyalist had stepped up for his leader: first, in September 2001, where he was the interim CM for six months when Jayalalithaa was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Tansi land deal case and second in September 2014, after a Bangalore court sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years in jail and fined Rs 100 crore in a corruption case.
On 5 Dec 2016 Jayalalithaa passed away after a cardiac arrest.
Her stay in the hospital
While in the ICU, Jayalalithaa always looked forward to visits by `King Kong' the name she fondly gave to three doughty nurses who took charge of her care .
“Several times, she would say, `You tell me what to do. I will do it',“ said C V Sheela, one of the nurses. “She smiled at us when we walked in, chatted with us, and, on most occasions, cooperated. When we were around, she made an effort to eat despite difficulties.She would have one spoon for the sake of each of us and one for herself,“ Sheela added.Her diet included her favourite upma, pongal or curd rice and potato curry , prepared by her cook. There was a team of 16 nurses who were posted in three shifts; Sheela, M V Renuka and Samundeeswari were among her favourites. D octors, nurses and paramedics described how she was sometimes funny , usually cooperative, and occasionally difficult during her 75-day stay. Jayalalithaa was brought to the emergency room on the night of September 22 in severe discomfort. Four hours later, when her vitals were stable, she woke up and asked for some sandwiches and coffee.“It had been a long journey for her since then,“ said Dr R Senthil Kumar, senior consultant, who led a team of intensive care experts.
When she wasn't too tired, she would chat with duty doctors. She would give tips on skin care and sometimes `ordered' them to change their hair style. “She always advised women to give themselves some time however busy they were,“ said medical director Dr Sathya Bhama.
She wasn't a fan of Apollo Hospitals' coffee. One day , she told a room full of nurses and doctors to pack up and come to her Poes Garden residence.“Come, let's go home. I will serve you the best tea from Kodainadu,“ said critical care expert Dr Ramesh Venkataraman. There were moments when she was firm. When UKbased Richard Beale gave her a pep talk asking her to cooperate, telling her that in the hospital he was the boss, she weakly gestured to him that `this state' was her turf.
Doctors vividly remember her being spirited when AIADMK won all three polls in Thanjavur, Arvakuruchi and Thiruparankundram on November 22. “She watched the news on Jaya TV and smiled,“ said Dr Bhama. But everything changed on that fateful Sunday evening. She was watching an old Tamil soap opera when an intensivist (name withheld) walked into her room. Jayalalithaa didn't smile or talk. She seemed breathless. By the time the doctor adjusted the ventilator, the monitors around her had flat-lined. She had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Hospital bill: ₹6.85cr; ₹24L for her room, ₹1.24cr for kin, friends
During late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s 75-day stay at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai from September 22, 2016 to December 5, 2016, a mere Rs 24.10 lakh was spent on her room rent, whereas more than Rs 1.24 crore was shelled out to arrange for the stay of others, including VK Sasikala, her kin and officials, at the hospital.
Around 20 rooms, which had rates varying from Rs 5,500 to Rs 30,000 a day, were occupied by the entourage for 60-75 days, say sources.
Also, more than Rs 1.17 crore was spent on ‘food and beverages’ alone, which was more than what the hospital billed for the services of UKbased expert Richard Beale, who was paid Rs 92 lakh.
The food bill was not for Jayalalithaa alone, but included officials, party cadre, ministers, security staff and other close aides who too stayed put at the hospital during her entire stay.
The details of room rent paid are more revealing and interesting. The food bill break-up accessed by TOI showed that of Rs 1.17 crore, Rs 48.43 lakh was spent on food for mediapersons camping outside the hospital. While Rs 25.8 lakh was the food bill of the police personnel, another Rs 19 lakh and Rs 17.8 lakh were spent for the secretarial staff and VIP escorts, respectively.
The Singapore-based Mount Elizabeth Hospital, which offered physiotherapy services to Jayalalithaa, was paid Rs 1.29 crore.
These details surfaced after the bill summary, submitted by Apollo Hospitals to the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry probing the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death, found its way to the Press on Tuesday.
The total bill amount for the entire 75-day hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa was Rs 6.85 crore, of which the AIADMK party paid Rs 6 crore to the hospital. The party still owes Rs 44.56 lakh to the hospital.
The 74-day hospitalisation and the end
Sept 22-Sept 28; Jayalalithaa admitted to Apollo Hospital with fever, dehydration.Hospital says she's stable, bins rumours that she'll be taken abroad, says she'll be discharged soon. On Sept 27, she resumes official duties from hospital
Sept 29-Oct 5: Apollo says Jaya responding to treatment.DMK chief Karunanidhi demands state govt come clean on CM's health, release photographs. AIADMK says Jaya recovering but gives out no pics. Dr Richard Beale is flown in from UK
Oct 6-Oct 12: Docs say CM needs “longer stay in hospital“, progress “gradual“.Lung decongestion on. Stalin visits her, speaks to doctors about Jaya's health, urges AIADMK to name interim CM.Paneerselvam assigned charge of eight depts
Oct 13-Oct 19: AIADMK campaigns online to kill rumours. Police threaten to arrest rumour-mongers
Oct 20-26: Party says Jaya to return home. Hospital says she's largely conscious, able to sit up. AIADMK confirms Jaya “very well“
Oct 27-Nov 2: Docs say Jaya's right hand inflamed.She signs poll affidavits with thumb print
Nov 3-18: AIADMK neta says Jaya to be moved out of Critical Care Unit. Lung infection under control, can leave whenever feels fit, Apollo chairman says.
On Nov 16, in her first statement since hospitalisation, Amma says, “Have taken rebirth because of people's prayers“. Jaya “breathing beautifully without ventilator“ says Apollo
Nov 25: Jaya speaks on microphone
Dec 4: Reports of Jaya to return home “soon“ as AIIMS team confirms her recovery
Late at night, has a cardiac arrest
Treated with ECMO, ExtraCorporeal Membrane Oxygenation -process in which functions of heart & lungs done outside the body
Dec 5: Union health minister JP Nadda says CM out of danger. Party spokesperson Saraswathy tells media Amma stable after angioplasty
But just before midnight that night Jayalalithaa was declared dead.
6 Dec, 2016
Jayalalithaa was buried with full state honours next to her mentor, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Kollywood legend MG Ramachandran, at the MGR Memorial in Chennai. Her last rites were performed by her close friend and confidante, Sasikala Natarajan.
Jayalalithaa's trusted aide O Panneerselvam was sworn in as Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister. 3.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to Chennai to pay tributes to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned this morning after obituary references to Jayalalithaa.
The Tamil Nadu government has declared seven days of mourning, and the Centre declared one day's mourning.
MK Stalin, the son of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo Karunanidhi - Jayalalithaa's arch-rival in politics - also paid respects to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall. Jayalalithaa's photos were seen today in public spaces in many DMK strongholds like Chepauk and Triplicane, and several DMK party workers joined her funeral procession. "It doesn't matter which party we belong to. She was everyone's leader when she died," said S Manikandan, a DMK party worker.
Doctors dispel rumours on Jaya’s death
The holes seen on former CM J Jayalalithaa's cheek when the body was kept on display for public homagehad triggered widespread speculation. This was among the many doubts sought to be dispelled at a press conference facilitated by the state government to offer details of the treatment given to her.
Doctors, led by Londonbased critical care expert Dr Richard Beale, said Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to Apollo Hospitals on September 22, 2016, with breathlessness triggered by an infection, died of cardiac arrest on December 5.
Minutes after her death, Dr Sudha Seshayyan of Madras Medical College, was called in to do embalming.While doing the 15-minute procedure, she noticed three dots on Jayalalithaa's cheek.“These were just ecchymotic (subcutaneous) dots. These could be the result of anchoring the tracheostomy tubes.Her lips too were swollen, probably because of the ventilator clamp,“ she said.
Apollo Hospitals has raised a bill of Rs 5.5 crore.
Controversies about her death
Madras High Court Questions Her Death
Why Can't Jayalalithaa's Body Be Exhumed? Madras High Court Questions Her Death
Three weeks after J Jayalalithaa's death in Chennai, the Madras High Court raised doubts and asked why her body cannot be exhumed. "Media has raised a lot of doubts, personally I also have doubts in Jayalalithaa's death," said judge S Vaidyanathan on a petitioner asking for an investigation into what he calls the "mysterious death" of the former chief minister
"When she was admitted in hospital, it was said that she was on proper diet. At least after her death now, the truth should be revealed," the judge said, asking for a complete health report.
. The Madras high court issued a notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, state and central governments and others. The HC also issued notice to the PMO and rapped the Centre for having “kept quiet“. “You went there... you knew everything but reported nothing for reasons best known to you,“ a bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and V Parthiban said. The high court bench also is sued notices, among others, to three Union ministries, CBI and Apollo Hospitals.
"Why would we tell lies for 75 days? Would a heart attack inform before happening?" said party spokesperson CR Saraswathy. "The judge must think about the feeling of the cadres. It has hurt us but we are ready to reply to this," she said.
"Amma", as she was referred to by her adoring supporters, was never seen by people after she was admitted to hospital on September 22 2016.
Two days before she suffered a massive cardiac arrest that led to her death, the ruling AIADMK had said that Ms Jayalalithaa was declared "fully recovered" by a team of doctors who said she could decide when to go home.
In the weeks before that, the AIADMK had given regular updates about how their chief was recovering and responding well to treatment. Criminal cases were filed against many accused of spreading rumours about Ms Jayalalithaa's health.
The vacation bench comprising Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice Parthiban, hearing a PIL of AIADMK party worker PA Joseph, said: "We also saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead."
Pointing out that no revenue division officer (RDO) had seen the body, neither were there any medical records furnished, the bench asked, "Why not, at least after her death, some proof was given."
The bench recalled a similar situation in the late 1980s when the then chief minister M G Ramachandran was taking treatment both in Chennai and in the United States.
"When MGR was taking treatment, the government released video of the chief minister," the bench said.
In October 2016, the party showed Ms Jayalalitha's thumb print on election affidavits that they said she cleared from her hospital bed, which raised even more questions. Doctors said her right hand was inflamed so she was temporarily unable to sign.
The petitioner has questioned whether Ms Jayalalithaa was "conscious enough to read and understand" is a million dollar question.
Union home ministry releases Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s report
Union home ministry released a letter from Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
The letter details the sequence of events from Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation in Sept to her death on Dec 5.
The letter sent to home minister reiterates the info contained in Apollo Hospitals’ press statements.
CHENNAI: Amidst demands for a probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Union home ministry has released a letter from Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao that details the sequence of events from her hospitalisation in September to her death on December 5 2016.
The letter sent to home minister Rajnath Singh reiterates the information contained in Apollo Hospitals' press statements. In the letter, Rao says that after Jaya's demise, chief minister O Panneerselvam had called on him at Raj Bhavan and submitted a letter stating that the AIADMK legislators meeting had passed a unanimous resolution signed by 133 MLAs electing him as the leader of the legislature party.
The ministry of home affairs, in its RTI response, attached a two-page letter from Rao, dated December 7. It talks about Jayalalithaa being admitted for fever and dehydration on September 22, being moved out of ICU on November 19, and suffering a cardiac arrest on December 4. The governor was in Mumbai at that time and rushed to Chennai. "She continued to be under critical care and was declared dead at 11.30pm on December 5," the letter said.
The RTI query was filed by Tamil news channel Thanthi TV. In two previous instances, on October 7 and 23, however, the home ministry had refused to release details on the messages sent out by the governor after he visited Jayalalithaa at the hospital at least twice earlier. The ministry had said that the governor had submitted a report on his visits to the hospital but said the details can't be released on grounds of "fiduciary relationship".
Former CIC Shailesh Gandhi said fiduciary relationship is a "gray area" in RTI. "There may be constitutional provisions that allow the home ministry to say so because the state governors and Centre have a different relationship," he said.
PH Pandian, former Speaker, expresses dounts
`Probe Events Leading To Hospital Stay'
Founding member of the party , PH Pandian, alleged mystery and foul play in the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Senior party officials K A Sengottaiyan and Panruti S Ramachandran, however, rubbished the charges.
Pandian said on Tuesday that the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation should be probed and those at Veda Nilayam, Jayalalithaa's residence, should be involved in the investigations. “The hospital may cite the patient's right to privacy , but no one at home can take this defence,“ Pandian said.
Pandian's allegations against Sasikala
An expert in criminology and forensic sciences, he alleged there was secrecy kept by the hospital too. Detailing his futile attempts to check on the ailing party supremo while she was in the hospital, Pandian said Sasikala's family took centre stage after her death was pronounced. “I found Sasikala wearing a jacket of James Bond and leading a procession of her family on the corridors. They had no tears,“ Pandian said.
Senior AIADMK officials Sengottaiyan and Ramachandran dismissed the charges telling reporters that Pandian was dutybound to produce evidence while casting doubts over Jayalalithaa's death.
They slammed Pandian saying he was never loyal to Jayalalithaa and that he had colluded with the DMK in filing criminal cases against her in 1996. Pandian was responsible for all her sufferings since then, said Sengottaiyan.
Jayalalithaa had expelled the Sasikala clan in 2011 on receiving intelligence reports that the family was hatching a conspiracy against her as to who should become the next CM if the verdict in the disproportionate assets case went against her, Pandian said. But, the party inducted Sasikala into the fold again months later, after she tendered an apology , disowning her family .
Pandian, a former Speaker, alleged that Sasikala's family members were shareholders of a distillery that supplies liquor to state-run Tasmac, even under DMK.
Doubts persist despite hospital bulletins
The questions surrounding the hospitalisation and death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa refused to die down even after the state government on Monday released the treatment summary+ from Apollo Hospitals and a report of a team of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences+ .
DMK working president M K Stalin pointed out the discrepancies in the medical bulletins and the treatment summary from Apollo Hospitals and the report from AIIMS.
Speaking to reporters at Kolathur, Stalin said: "On September 25, Apollo Hospitals released a medical bulletin stating that Jayalalithaa was admitted there following fever and nutrition deficiency. It said she would be in hospital for a few days and would go back to her residence. But the AIIMS statement states that Jayalalithaa was unconscious and on life support when she was admitted to hospital on September 22."
He said there are several discrepancies in the medical bulletin released on December 4 after Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest and the discharge summary.
PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss too raised some questions on the hospitalisation and death of Jayalalithaa.
In a statement, Ramadoss said people wanted to know how a person who was seriously ill could affix her thumb impression on the nomination papers of party candidates for three byelections.
Former chief minister O Panneerselvam had said he was not aware of the type of treatment given to Jayalalithaa. But the report released by state health secretary J Radhakrishnan on Monday along with treatment summary and report from AIIMS said OPS was in the know of the treatment. "Which is true," he asked.
"The report also states that treatment was stopped based on the approval of Panneerselvam, health minister C Vijayabaskar and Jayalalithaa's family (her aide VK Sasikala). "What is Panneerselvam's response now?" asked Ramadoss.
A career in the films
Vennira Aadai announced Jayalalithaa’s arrival on silverscreen, and for a period of 12 years, she was the most sought-out name not only in Tamil, but also in Kannada & Telugu industries. But acting was just the beginning of what turned into a phenomenon
Her career as an actor was rather short — the active years were just about 12 years. But at the end of those dozen-odd years, J Jayalalithaa emerged as arguably the top female star in Tamil film industry, one who was an integral part in some of the biggest box office hits that Kollywood ever recorded in those decades. For the star that she evolved into over the years, Jaya had a low-key debut, curiously in an English film — The Epistle in 1961. The child actor was seen in a Kannada film in the sa me year, and a Hindi film in the next, but was absent from the screen in the next year. Jaya returned in 1964 with three Kannada films and a Telugu film.
Epistle was the only English movie in which Jayalalithaa was seen during her entire career. Epistle, also the first film that she started shooting for, was produced by Shankar Giri, former Indian President VV Giri’s son.
The film couldn’t do well with the public. Hence, Giri decided to re-release it after Jayalalithaa gained popularity for films “Chinnada Gombe” in Kannada and “Vennira Aadai” in Tamil.
That was when Vennira Aadai was released in 1965. Her character, Shoba, a young woman who was emotionally wrecked by the death of her husband just hours after their marriage, had enough substan- ce to reveal the actor in her. That was the first turning point in Jaya’s career. That was when Jaya was cast with matinee idol MGR in Ayirathil Oruvan. The film went on to become an allti me hit and also ma rked the beginning of the most successful acting pair who were cast as the lead in as many as 27 films. What followed was a string of hits, establishing Jaya as the most-sought after name in Tamil cinema. The number of films she acted in began increasing at a fast clip, several of them grossing big at the box office.
Vennira Aadai (1965 | Tamil)
Her first debut film in Tamil is a love triangle featuring Sreekanth and Nirmala. It was a huge commercial success for the actress and pushed her into stardom soon after. Her co-star and music director, in fact, had been called Vennira Aadai Nirmala and Vennira Aadai Moorthy after this film.
There were at least seven big hits in 1966, five in 1967 and six more in 1968.
Aayirathil Oruvan (1965 | Tamil)
Jayalalithaa’s popularity hit a whole new level in the industry after Aayirathil Oruvan, which was her first film with MGR. Jayalalithaa played princess Poongodi, who falls in love with an enslaved doctor Manimaran, played by MGR. The movie was a huge commercial hit which ran for more than 100 days in Chennai and other cities. Even its digitised version, which was released in 2014, ran for 190 days.
Gudachari 116 (1966 | Telugu)
Jayalalithaa played the female lead opposite Telugu superstar Krishna and Shoban Babu in this action thriller. The movie was inspired by Ian Flemming’s James Bond series quickly became a hit. The movie was also remade in Bollywood as Farz the following year.
Yaar Nee (1966)
Yaar Nee was an official Tamil remake of the popular Hindi film Woh Kaun thi (1964). It featured Jayalalithaa and Jaishankar as Sandhna and Manoj Kumar. If the original film was a hit, so was the Tamil version.
Kandan Karunai (1967)
This 1967 release was a mythological story. Based on the life of Lord Muruga, it featured Jayalalithaa as Valli, one of the wives to Lord Muruga. The film also had legendary Sivaji Ganeshan playing the lead role.
Arasa Kattalai (1967)
The 1967 Tamil Arasa Kattalai which was written and directed by M. G. Chakrapani, featured M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa in key roles. Set against the backdrop of the world of kings and queens, Jayalalithaa was seen in the role of princess Maghana. The story, which dealt with the core issue of good triumphing evil, made headlines for its incredible dialogues and songs.
Izzat (1968 | Hindi)
This is her first and her last Hindi film. Jayalalithaa played a spunky Adivasi girl, Jhumki, in love with Dharmendra, who is far above her socially, in the film. Her role in the film earned her much appreciation and also showcased her dancing skills.
Ragasiya Police 115 (1968)
Yet another film opposite MGR. This crime and spy thriller featured MGR in the role of a Research & Analysis Wing officer, who was referred to by his code name, 115. Jayalalithaa wowed once again. In this film she essayed the character – Neela.
Deiva Magan (1969 | Tamil)
The movie, starring Jayalalithaa and Sivijai Ganesan, was an adaptation of the Bengali stage-play Ulka. It was a critically acclaimed movie and was the first Tamil film to be submitted to the Oscars.
Adimai Penn (1969 | Tamil)
Jayalalithaa’s another hit with MGR, in which she played a double role: a peasant and a queen. The movie created several box office records, by becoming the first Tamil film to complete 400 houseful shows in four theatres in Chennai.
Ali Baba 40 Dongalu (1970 | Telugu)
Under the direction of the master of Telugu fantasies Vittalacharya’s direction, Jayalalithaa played the female lead opposite NTR. The movie was based on folk tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves from the Arabian Tales. The movie became a super hit for its grand sets and cinematography.
En Annan (1970)
Directed by Pa Neelakandhan, the film featured M. G. Ramachandran, J Jayalalitha, M. N. Nambiar, S. A. Ashokan, Cho Ramaswamy in key roles. It was a remake of Telugu film Poola Rangadu (24 November 1967) which was directed by Adurthi Subba Rao, with A.N.R. and Jamuna.
Bharya Biddalu (1971 | Telugu)
Jayalalithaa worked with another stalwart of Telugu films ANR in this family drama. Following the success of this film, it was clear that Jayalalithaa was a force to be reckoned with in the Telugu film industry.
Pattikada Pattanama (1972 | Tamil)
This was another surprise hit for Jayalalithaa, which had Sivaji Ganeshan in the lead. The social drama is about the lifestyle and its associated values between a city and a village. Jayalalithaa was seen in modern attire playing a free-spirited urban girl who falls for a village leader. The film had bagged the National Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Sri Krishna Satya (1972 | Telugu)
This is Jayalalithaa’s second mythological Telugu film after the success of 1969 film Shri Krishna Vijayam. The actress had shared screen space with NTR, Jamuna and Devika. Jayalalithaa played a double role in the film, while NTR essayed the roles of Lord Krishna and Lord Rama.
Surya Kanthi (1973)
Jayalalithaa and Muthuraman played the main lead in this film which had the ego issues playing the main theme. It was just another project that showed Jayalalithaa’s prowess as an actress. She proved she didn’t face much difficulty in shifting to different genres.
This fame crossed borders, and she returned to Kannada and Telugu fi lms. But this time, she was the biggest dr a w. But from 1975, there was a distinct sign that Jaya was withdrawing from acting. She acted only in four films that year. The number dwindled to just two each in 1976 and 1977. That can effectively be considered to be the ending part of her career. She was just 29 ye a rs then, an age when most actors hit the pink of their career. The last time she appea r ed in a film was as a Chief Minister in 1992. By then, her life had entered the next act wh e re the fla m i ng career was part of a nostalgic memory.
As an actor
1961 Shrishaila Mahatme
1964 Chindha Gambhe
1964 Mane Aliya
1964 Murudan Muthu
1965 Ayirathil Oruvan
1965 Manashulu Mamatalu
1965 Vennira Adai
1966 Aame Evaru
1966 Badukuva Daari
1966 Gowri Kalyanam
1966 Kumari Penn
1966 Lorry Driver
1966 Major Chandrakant
1966 Mani Makudam
1966 Motor Sundaram Pillai
1966 Saraswathy Sapadham
1966 Yaar Nee
1967 Arasa Kattali
1967 Chikkadu Dorakadu
1967 Gopaludu Bhoopaludu
1967 Kandan Karunai
1967 Madi Veettu Mappillai
1967 Raaja Veetu Pillai
1967 Thaikku Thalaimagan
1968 Andru Kanda Mugam
1968 Attagaru Kottakodalu
1968 Bagdad Gajadonga
1968 Enga Ooru Raja
1968 Galatta Kalyanam
1968 Kannan En Kathalan
1968 Kathal Vaghanam
1968 Kudiyiruntha Koyil
1968 Muthu Chippi
1968 Niluvu Dopidi
1968 Oli Vilakku
1968 Pannakarai Pillai
1968 Pudhiya Bhoomi
1968 Rahasya Police115
1968 Sri Ramakatha
1968 Sukha Dukhalu
1968 Ther Thiruvizha
1968 Tikka Shankaraiah
1969 Aadarsa Kutumbam
1969 Adimai Penn
1969 Gandikota Rahasyam
1969 Kadaladu Vadaladu
1969 Katha Nayakudu
1969 Mattukkara Velan
1969 Nam Naadu
1970 Alibaba 40 Dongalu
1970 Anathai Ananthan
1970 En Annan
1970 Enga Mama
1970 Engal Thangam
1970 Engiruthu Vandhal
1970 Shri Krishna Vijayam
1970 Thedi Vanda Mappillai
1971 Adi Parasakthi
1971 Annai Velankanni
1971 Bharya Biddalu
1971 Kumari Kottam
1971 Neerum Neruppum
1971 Oru Thai Makkal
1971 Savale Samali
1971 Shri Krishna Satya
1971 Sumathi En Sundari
1971 Thanga Gopuram
1972 Akka Thamudu
1972 Annamitta Kai
1972 Dharmam Enge
1972 Pattikada Pattanama
1972 Raman Thediya Seethai
1972 Sakthi Leelai
1972 Thikku Theriyadha Katil
1973 Devudu Chesina Manushulu
1973 Dr. Babu
1973 Ganga Gauri
1973 Pattikatu Ponnaiah
1973 Vandhale Magarasi
1974 Anbai Thedi
1974 Anbu Thangai
1974 Baghdad Perazhagi
1974 Premalu Pellilu
1975 Avalukku Aayiram Kangal
1975 Avanthan Manithan
1975 Baaghi Lutera
1975 Barah Ghante
1975 Cinema Paithiyam
1975 Pattam Bharathamum
1975 Yarrukkum Vetkam Illai
1976 Chitra Pournami
1976 Jai Jagat Janani
1976 Kanavan Manaivi
1976 Tu Hi Kaali Tu Hi Durga
1976 Tu Hi Ram Tu Hi Krishna
1976 Unmaye Un Vilai Enna
1977 Amar Shilpi
1977 Shahzadi Mumtaz
1977 Shri Krishna Leela
1977 Soorya Kanthi
1977 Unnai Sutrum Ulagam
1979 Mata Velankanni
1980 Nadhiye Thedi Vandha Kadal
1980 Nayakudu Vinayakudu