A court in the city of Bangalore in southern India has denied bail to J. Jayalalitha, the jailed former chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The politician was jailed after she was found guilty by the high court of the state of Karnataka in an 18-year-old corruption case.
The politician, who heads the AIADMK party and now faces the prospect of spending four years in jail, was replaced by O. Panneerselvam, who has been a faithful aide to her, as interim chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu, according to NDTV, a local news network. Although the prosecution had not objected to bail being granted to Jayalalitha, and three of her aides who were also convicted along with her of corruption, the court denied the plea, according to reports.
Jayalalitha’s lawyers had applied for bail stating that the 66-year old politician suffers from diabetes, blood pressure and a weak heart, The Hindu, a local newspaper, reported.
Jayalalitha was found guilty last month by a special court, of owning disproportionate assets and having unaccounted wealth worth $10 million. She was ordered by the high court of the neighboring state of Karnataka to pay a fine of $16 million in the case and was handed a four-year jail term. The court's ruling will be now appealed in the Supreme Court, the country's apex court in New Delhi, according to the politician's lawyer.
The actress-turned-politician, a colorful personality known for her opulent lifestyle, is an extremely divisive figure in her home state. She reportedly owns thousands of saris and hundreds of pairs of shoes, and stirred a national controversy in 1995 when she hosted a massive wedding, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, for her foster son.