Chennai: A Bangalore court`s ruling due Saturday on an 18-year-old case related to Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa`s disproportionate assets is widely expected to impact politics in Tamil Nadu.
The judgment in the case against Jayalalithaa and three others is expected to be delivered by a trial court judge, John Michael Cunha, in a special court in the Karnataka capital.
If Jayalalithaa is convicted, it could change the political course of Tamil Nadu besides denting her image and her party`s prospects in the 2016 assembly elections.
But if the verdict goes in Jayalalithaa`s favour, it will give her image a boost vis-a-vis her arch rival DMK. She can claim she was a victim of political vendetta.
It was in 1996 that the state government headed by DMK leader M. Karunanidhi filed a case against Jayalalithaa saying she held assets worth Rs.66 crore disproportionate to her known income.
AIADMK leaders are confident their leader will come out unscathed. In any case, they say, there is no threat to her leadership in the AIADMK.
Jayalalithaa led the party to a sweep in the Lok Sabha battle, winning 37 out of 39 constituencies.
"We are expecting a good judgment on Tuesday," R. Thamaraiselvan, a DMK lawyer and a former Lok Sabha member, told IANS, reflecting the mood in the anti-Jayalalithaa camp.
In 2000, a trial court convicted Jayalalithaa for three years` and two years` imprisonment in two cases respectively.
In 2001, she stepped down as chief minister after the Supreme Court held that she cannot hold office after being convicted for criminal offences.
The actor-turned-politician asked O. Panneerselvam, a senior minister in her government, as the chief minister.
In 2002, Jayalalithaa again became chief minister after being acquitted by the Madras High Court. She was elected from Andipatti constituency.
If Jayalalithaa is convicted Sep 27, she will have to step down.
Since then the case has seen various twists and turns. It was transferred to Bangalore in 2001 after Jayalalithaa returned to power.