Jayalalithaa newsmaker in Tamil Nadu, albeit for wrong reasons

Chennai: Conviction of Jayalalithaa in a graft case and her unseating from the chief minister's chair, twin blasts and a legal wrangle that stalled the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case were among major events that unfolded during 2014 in Tamil Nadu.

Chennai: Conviction of Jayalalithaa in a graft case and her unseating from the chief minister's chair, twin blasts and a legal wrangle that stalled the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case were among major events that unfolded during 2014 in Tamil Nadu.

The collapse of a multi-storey building at Moulivakkam which claimed more than 60 lives, a dhoti row, the brutal rape and murder of a woman techie by migrant workers outside her office and conviction of 10 people in the Kumbakonam school fire tragedy also kept the state in news.

On the political front, ruling AIADMK suffered a major jolt when its chief Jayalalithaa was sent to jail upon her conviction in the Rs 66-crore illegal wealth case by a special court in Bengaluru on September 27.

The first chief minister from Tamil Nadu to land in jail for corruption, she faced disqualification from her Assembly membership and lost the chief minister's post.

The four-year jail term to Jayalalithaa, whom her partymen worship as 'Puratchi Thalaivi' (revolutionary leader) and 'Amma' (mother) set off a wave of protests across the state and suicides claiming more than 150 lives.

Her close aide Sasikala, her disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi also got a four-year jail sentence and hefty fines to the tune of Rs 130 crore. Jayalalithaa and the other three are now out on bail granted by Supreme Court.

O Panneerselvam and his team of new ministers assumed office wailing and in a hush-hush manner apparently to avoid media glare and to give the event of power succession a sombre note on September 28.

The internecine war of succession between DMK treasurer M K Stalin and his elder brother, Madurai strongman Alagiri, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls dealt a devastating blow to DMK and its patriarch, M Karunanidhi, axed his elder son from the party on March 25.

Embattled Congress' cup of woes only added up, when one of its top leaders and former Union minister G K Vasan quit the party in November and revived his father's Tamil Maanila Congress.

The multi-party alliance stitched up by BJP for Lok Sabha polls not only failed to make any dent in the fortunes of AIADMK, which swept the election winning 37 of 39 seats, but also witnessed holes cropping up in the alliance.

Vaiko-led MDMK left the alliance on December 8 alleging that the Narendra Modi government was working against the interests of Tamils and pushing Hindutva ideology in Tamil Nadu.

PMK too seems not far from this step, as its founder S Ramadoss in a public meeting said his party shared almost half of the woes raised by Vaiko.

Ramadoss went a step further saying, "Modi is not above criticism", which has irked the state BJP.

The Rajiv Gandhi assassination case came to the fore when a war of words and a legal tussle ensued after the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced her government's decision to set free seven convicts serving life term in the case.

On February 19, Jayalalithaa made a suo motu statement in the Assembly that her government would set free Nalini and six others, which was opposed by the UPA government.

The UPA government moved Supreme Court and managed to secure a stay on the release of the convicts.

The murder of a woman techie on February 13 sent shock waves among Chennaities and raised concerns about working women's safety.

Police arrested four migrant workers in connection with the incident and a court completing the trial in about eight months sentenced three to life term.

Chennai in particular and the country in general woke up to a shock on the morning of May 1, when two low intensity bombs exploded on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai Central Station, claiming the life of a 21-year-old woman techie and injuring about six persons.

The explosion, which was suspected to be the handiwork of a terror group, is yet to be unravelled by police. Railways in June said that a statutory inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety into the incident revealed that the blast was a sabotage.

The collapse of a 11-storeyed under-construction building at Moulivakkam near Chennai on June 28 claimed 61 lives and brought under the scanner various agencies, including the city corporation and urban development department which allegedly shut their eyes to this unauthorised structure.

A dhoti row grabbed the limelight after a sitting judge of Madras High Court was denied permission by a private club to enter its premises for wearing the traditional dress in south India.

The issue snowballed into a major controversy, evoking protests across Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK government enacted a legislation making it a cognisable offence to those who refuse entry to anyone wearing dhoti, a traditional attire of the state.

On July 30, ending a 10-year-long trial, a court in Thanjavur sentenced 10 people to life imprisonment in the Kumbakonam school fire tragedy, which claimed the lives of more than 100 children.

September 24 was the brightest day for Indian space efforts as ISRO scientists achieved a major milestone in placing the Mars Orbiter Mission in the Mars orbit in a maiden effort, a feat that brought accolades to it globally.

Tamil Nadu also witnessed the death of more than 20 infants in the neonatal ward of Dharmapuri General Hospital and in Salem, triggering protests against the government. The Panneerselvam government rejected Opposition charges about medical negligence and asserted the deaths were caused due to pre-term birth and under weight of infants.

The arrest of Sakir Hussain and Sri Lankan national Arun Selvarajan at Chennai in April and September respectively brought to light the hitherto hidden spy networks of Pakistani ISI agents, who had conspired to attack the US Consul General in Chennai and Israeli Embassy in Bengaluru.

A NIA court in November sentenced Hussain to five years in jail under Section 16 (Punishment for terrorist Act) and five years under Section 18 (Punishment for conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The sentences would run concurrently.

The case against Selvarajan is in the court.

On June 18, a gang of unidentified men hacked a Hindu Munnani leader to death at Ambattur Industrial Estate, leading to protests in the state. The incident happened right next to the office of Joint Commissioner of Police (West).

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find out more by clicking this link