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February 2, 2000
Jaya's conviction sparks violence, 3 dead
A Special Correspondent in Madras
The conviction of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, J Jayalalitha, in a corruption case today sparked off violent protests all across the state, leaving three college girls dead.
The three girls were killed when an angry mob comprising mostly AIADMK workers set ablaze a Coimbatore Agriculture University bus near Dharmapuri.
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary J Jayalalitha and four of her colleagues have been sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment on charges of corruption in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case.
Special Judge-2 V Radhakrishnan convicted and sentenced Jayalalitha and her colleagues for having favoured the owner of the hotel in return of monetary considerations when she was ruling Tamil Nadu from 1991-96.
The 52-year-old politician, who had brought down the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government less than a year ago, was present in the courtroom when Judge Radhakrishnan pronounced his historic verdict.
This is probably the first time in India that a top politician has been sentenced to a prison term, that too with hard labour, on charges of corruption.
Jayalalitha and her erstwhile ministerial colleagues were accused of having allowed a seven-storeyed hotel to come up in the hill station of Kodaikanal in brazen violation of building laws applicable to such areas, which permit only two floors.
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