Bangalore/Chennai: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa Saturday walked out of a Bangalore jail after bail formalities were completed and reached Chennai to a spirited welcome by her AIADMK cadre, who were out in force despite the heavy rain.
AIADMK cadres were jubilant and celebrated the release of Jayalalithaa who spent 21 days in prison after being convicted in a corruption case last month, before the Supreme Court accepted her bail plea.
"Jayalalithaa left the jail after completing the formalities. She is fine and in good health," Karnataka Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) K.V. Gagandeep told IANS minutes after she walked free at 3.15 p.m. and waved to the crowd at Parapanna Agrahara on Bangalore's outskirts.
O. Pannerselvam, who was sworn in Tamil Nadu chief minister after Jayalalithaa stepped down, a few cabinet ministers and 50 lawmakers of the ruling AIADMK greeted her.
Her three associates -- Sasikala Natarajan, V. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarisi, who were released along with her from the jail, accompanied her.
A special court Sep 27 convicted Jayalalithaa in the Rs.66.65-crore disproportionate assets' case and sentenced her to four years simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs.100 crore. The three others were sentenced to four years jail term with a fine of Rs.10 crore each.
The court ordered Jayalalithaa's release after the Supreme Court Friday stayed the four-year jail term sentence and granted an interim bail to Jayalalithaa till Dec 18 in the corruption case that dragged on for 18 years.
"The special court judge (John Michael D'Cunha) issued the order after Jayalalithaa's counsel furnished a bond of Rs.2 crore and two sureties of assets were submitted by her known persons," Gagandeep said.
The two sureties of properties valued at Rs.5 crore and Rs.1 crore were given by J. Bharat and Gunajyothi, who are party cadres in the city.
The release order was issued after Jayalalithaa's counsel submitted to the court a certified copy of the apex court order, issued by a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu.
"Jayalalithaa was set free after we verified the court order along with the bond and surety papers given for her release. She also signed the jail register where her name was entered as prisoner number 7402," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of prisons P.M. Jaisimha told IANS.
The court also issued separate orders to release Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarisi, after they furnished a bond of Rs.1 crore each and gave sureties as specified by the judge.
Hundreds of Jayalalithaa's ardent fans and frenzied supporters from the city and Hosur across the border lined up on both sides of the Bangalore thoroughfares and cheered her as her convoy sped away towards the airport from where she was to take a chartered flight to Chennai.
Many AIADMK cadres danced, clapped and waived party flags, while others burst firecrackers at junctions en-route raising slogans in favour of their aamma' (mother) and denouncing at the same time DMK president M. Karunanidhi.
Ecstatic supporters welcomed Jayalalithaa in Chennai.
AIADMK cadres assembled in large numbers shouted 'Long Live Amma'.
"Amma, Amma," the one word slogan rented the air. She was also given a drum beat reception.
Jayalalithaa drove straight to her residence in Poes Garden area. Party cadres - men and women - braving heavy rains were assembled outside her residence and the airport to have a glimpse of their leader.
They also lined up on both the sides of the road outside the airport to wish Jayalalithaa and showered her car with flowers.
On the way to her residence, she briefly stopped her car outside a Ganapathi Temple in Kotturpuram area and prayed sitting in the car.
"It is pouring here as she is reaching the city. She brings rain to the city," a party worker said.