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Heart attacks, suicides as India politician jailed

29 September 2014, 13:29

New Delhi - Six people killed themselves and 10 died of cardiac arrest in southern India after a court sent a powerful politician to jail for corruption, a news report said on Monday.

Police said three people hanged themselves, one supporter set himself on fire, another drank poison and one jumped in front of a bus, according to the Times of India newspaper.

Others suffered heart attacks, allegedly due to shock over the case, it said.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu state, was sentenced to four years in jail on Saturday.

She was convicted of amassing unreported wealth of about $11m during her 1991-96 first term of office. At the time she was taking a token salary of 1 rupee per month.

Prosecutors said Jayalalithaa and her aides set up shell companies through which large sums of money had been routed. The firms had no business activities, but they acquired prime real estate in the southern state.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa supporters. (File, AFP)

Popularly known as Amma, or mother, in the local language, the actress-turned-politician inspires an obsessive passion among some supporters.

Authorities tightened security across the state to prevent violence and clashes from breaking out.

On Monday, Jayalalithaa appealed the conviction and asked for bail. The court is expected to hear the plea on Tuesday.

Sources in her political party said she is still making major decisions from jail, and the party was waiting to approve a state cabinet reshuffle.

Jayaram-Jayalalithaa supporters
Jayaram Jayalalithaa supporters. (File, AFP)


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