CONFLICTS

Graft conviction keeps south Indian politician out of office

  • A lawyer addresses the media after the Supreme Court upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The top court’s order ended the chances of AIADMK party leader Sasikala Natarajan becoming the southern state's next chief minister. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    A lawyer addresses the media after the Supreme Court upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The top court’s order ended the chances of AIADMK party leader Sasikala Natarajan becoming the southern state's next chief minister. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

  • Media cameras record as a lawyer addresses the media after the Supreme Court upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The top court’s order ended the chances of AIADMK party leader Sasikala Natarajan becoming the southern state's next chief minister. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Media cameras record as a lawyer addresses the media after the Supreme Court upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. The top court’s order ended the chances of AIADMK party leader Sasikala Natarajan becoming the southern state's next chief minister. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE – In this Aug 2, 2005 file photo, Sasikala Natarajan, left, and Ilavarasi, two of the four accused in a corruption case involving Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, arrive for a hearing at a special court in Bangalore, India. India's top court on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, upheld the corruption conviction of Sasikala, the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, ending her chances of becoming the southern state's next chief minister. Sasikala was the personal assistant to Jayaram Jayalalitha, a former movie star who became Tamil Nadu's top politician, or chief minister. Jayalalitha died in office in December, 2016, triggering a succession battle within her AIADMK party. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh, File)

    FILE – In this Aug 2, 2005 file photo, Sasikala Natarajan, left, and Ilavarasi, two of the four accused in a corruption case involving Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, arrive for a hearing at a special court in Bangalore, India. India's top court on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, upheld the corruption conviction of Sasikala, the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, ending her chances of becoming the southern state's next chief minister. Sasikala was the personal assistant to Jayaram Jayalalitha, a former movie star who became Tamil Nadu's top politician, or chief minister. Jayalalitha died in office in December, 2016, triggering a succession battle within her AIADMK party. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh, File)  (The Associated Press)

India's top court has upheld the corruption conviction of the head of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu state, ending her chances of becoming the southern state's next chief minister.

The Supreme Court set aside a lower court order that had cleared Sasikala Natarajan of corruption charges. Corruption is endemic in Indian politics, which is often dominated by outsized personalities and their friends and relatives.

Sasikala was the personal assistant to Jayaram Jayalalitha, a former movie star who became Tamil Nadu's top politician, or chief minister. Jayalalitha died in office in December triggering a succession battle within her AIADMK party.

The Supreme Court ordered Sasikala and others convicted in the case to complete their four-year jail terms. The conviction also means she cannot hold public office for six years.