India court denies bail to Jayalalithaa Jayaram who was jailed for corruption

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai on May 13, 2011. An Indian court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of a form
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai on May 13, 2011. An Indian court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of a former film star turned politician jailed for corruption last month after a judge ruled she could not have afforded her lavish lifestyle on her modest salary. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGALORE (AFP) - An Indian court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of a former film star turned politician jailed for corruption last month after a judge ruled she could not have afforded her lavish lifestyle on her modest salary.

The judge said there were no grounds to release Jayalalithaa Jayaram, who was jailed for four years and fined one-billion rupees (S$20.8 million) for illegally amassing wealth including gold, properties, shoes and saris.

"The Supreme Court (has) clearly indicated that corruption violates human rights and leads to economic imbalance," said the judge, Justice A.V. Chandrashekara, as he gave his ruling.

Television footage showed crowds of supporters wailing and throwing their arms in the air in despair in Tamil Nadu, the prosperous southern state that she led until her conviction.

The politician has appealed against her conviction.

Jayalalithaa is a divisive figure who has been criticised for her extravagance, but who inspires huge loyalty in Tamil Nadu, where she is known simply as "Amma", or mother.

Her AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) party emerged as the third biggest force in the national parliament after elections in May.

The 66-year-old won over voters after handing out freebies including electric blenders, goats and small amounts of gold.

Politicians are rarely convicted of corruption in India despite seething public anger over endemic graft that permeates every level of life in the country.