One of India’s most charismatic political leaders, J Jayalalithaa, breathed her last at 11:30 pm on Monday. The announcement came over 24 hours after she suffered a cardiac arrest which diminished all hopes of any recovery.
For 74 days, she was in the ICU battling for her life but did her health sudden deteriorate? As per a report, her imprisonment in 2014 in the disproportionate assets case was what led to her falling health.
During her days in the prison, she did not meet doctors and even refused to share her medical history. Senior leaders had to sleep outside the prison to convince her. But by the time she was released on bail, she looked frail.
Despite having come back to power as the Chief Minister in May 2016, her public appearances were limited. Even when Union Ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Pon Radhakrishnan were in Chennai to attend the launch of Chennai airport metro station, Jayalalithaa only joined via video conference. Reports suggest that she was brought in a wheelchair to her chamber for the video.
A special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 100 crore.
The case pertains to allegations levelled by BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy in 1996 which stated that she amassed properties worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income during her tenure as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996. She was arrested in December 1996 but later released on bail.
She secured an absolute majority in May 2001 and was sworn in as the Chief Minister but in September 2001, her appointment was annulled by the Supreme Court in connection with the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation case.
The DA case against her was moved to the Karnataka High Court in 2003 where she was convicted. The verdict had triggered massive protests across the state.