World Bulletin / News Desk
An Indian court on Saturday sentenced the chief minister of Tamil Nadu state to four years in jail, in a corruption case that has lasted nearly two decades, television channels reported.
Jayalalithaa Jayaram, one of the most popular politicians in south India, was convicted of having assets disproportionate to her income, the reports said. She was also fined 1 billion rupees ($16.36 million).
Television reports showed supporters of Jayalalithaa, chief of the AIADMK party, clashing with police in Bangalore city and the state capital Chennai. TV reports said she was currently in hospital suffering from ill health.
In law, Jayalalithaa will now have to step down as the head of Tamil Nadu state, which she governed since 2011. However, she will have the option of approaching a higher court which could overturn the verdict.
"I am pleased that the Indian democratic system is working," Subramanian Swamy, a petitioner in the case and a leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, told the television channel Times Now. "It is an appropriate punishment."
The portly, fair-skinned Jayalalithaa acted in several Indian movies before joining politics and has a huge fan following. She endeared herself to millions by distributing free laptops, grinders and fans to voters.
Before the general election in May, Jayalalithaa was seen as a potential ally of Modi if he failed to secure enough votes to form a government. However, Modi and his allies won a convincing majority.Last Mod: 27 Eylül 2014, 16:17