CHENNAI: Investigators of the Kodanad case are finally set to question VK Sasikala, owner of the estate and confidant of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, for the first time on Thursday, in connection with the heist-cum-murder that rocked the State five years ago. More than 215 people have already been interrogated. The grilling is expected to take place at her residence in T Nagar.
The incident happened inside the sprawling 800 plus acre estate, which was one of the favourite retreat homes of Jayalalithaa. An armed gang had trespassed into it and decamped with valuables after killing one of the guards. This is the first time the owner of the estate will be questioned to ascertain what valuables went missing from the bungalow.
During the night of the incident on April, 23, 2017, Sasikala was in Bengaluru jail. Jayalalithaa had passed away in December 2016. In October 2020, IT Department had attached the Kodanad property.
After the DMK returned to power, the case was reopened and a new team of police officers began investigation anew. The old investigators had filed a charge sheet and the case was on trial at a district court but the police, in August 2021, suddenly decided to probe the case further ‘based on new evidence’. The prime accused KV Sayan of Kerala was granted bail by the Madras High court in July 2021. Though he was given bail by the jurisdiction court two months after his arrest in 2017, it was cancelled in 2019, after he gave a media interview alleging that then Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had a role in the crime.
Police had earlier claimed that the robbery was planned by Kanagaraj, a former driver of Jayalalithaa and Sayan. Kanagaraj was killed in an accident in April 2017 while Sayan too met with an accident the same day in Palakkad, in which his wife and child were also killed. These accidents had fuelled speculation that influential people were behind it.