“Bengaluru: The Lokayukta special court in Bengaluru has issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against VK Sasikala, a close associate of the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. This development comes as she failed to appear before the court for a hearing related to allegations of receiving preferential treatment during her incarceration at a Bengaluru prison. Sasikala, who was convicted in a disproportionate asset case in 2017, was serving her sentence at the Parappana Agrahara central prison in the city.
The court has also issued an NBW for another individual, Ilavarasi, who happens to be Sasikala’s sister-in-law. Additionally, two individuals who had provided sureties for the former AIADMK leader were served notices before the court adjourned the hearing on September 4.
Sasikala and Ilavarasi were previously convicted by a special court in the disproportionate assets case, which also involved Jayalalithaa. Both individuals spent four years in the central prison. The allegations against Sasikala revolve around her supposedly receiving VIP treatment at the Parappana Agrahara central prison, including claims of bribing prison officials to secure privileges not granted to other inmates.
Former DIG (Prisons) D Roopa had previously raised concerns and alleged that a transaction of ₹2 crore had occurred between prison officials and Sasikala for these privileges. According to a report submitted by Roopa in February 2022, a whole corridor consisting of five cells had been reserved for the private use of Sasikala and Ilavarasi.
The report further highlighted that the authorized capacity of the female barracks, which had 28 cells, was designed for 100 prisoners. This discrepancy suggested that, on average, four prisoners should be accommodated in each cell. However, when five cells were allocated to just two prisoners, it resulted in overcrowding in the remaining 23 cells, exceeding the authorized limit.
In 2018, the Karnataka government initiated an inquiry into the alleged special treatment provided to Sasikala. This inquiry aimed to investigate the involvement of senior officials at the Bengaluru central prison in this matter.
The high-level inquiry, led by retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar, uncovered “serious lapses” and “falsification of records” by senior prison officials in granting special treatment to Sasikala. Despite claims that the pressure cooker and vessels in the cells were used for storing jail food, the committee, considering photographs provided by Roopa, concluded that the pressure cooker was primarily used for cooking food.
Following the report in February 2022, a charge sheet was filed in connection with the case. In May of this year, the Karnataka High Court dismissed the case against three prison officers who were co-accused alongside Sasikala: Krishna Kumar, the then-chief jail superintendent; Dr. Anitha, then-assistant superintendent of prisons; and Gajaraja Makanur, then-police sub-inspector.”