You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tamil Nadu govt appoints retired judge to probe Jayalalithaa’s death

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-09-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday set up an inquiry commission headed by retired Madras high court judge justice A. Arumughaswamy to probe the death of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.

“To conduct inquiry and submit a report on the death of former chief minister Jayalalithaa, an inquiry commission headed by retired high court judge, justice Arumugasamy, has been constituted,” a release from the directorate of information and public relations said.

On 17 August, just before the merger of the two rival factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the Edappadi K. Palaniswami-led government said that it would set up such an inquiry panel.

An inquiry into Jayalalithaa’s December 2016 death in hospital was one of the main conditions for merger laid down by the leader of the other AIADMK faction, O. Panneerselvam. He also demanded the ouster of Jayalalithaa’s close friend V.K. Sasikala and her family members from party affairs.

ALSO READ: A year on, the battle for Jayalalithaa’s baton continues

Justice Arumughaswamy’s appointment came just hours after sidelined party official T.T.V. Dhinakaran claimed that his aunt Sasikala, who is in jail in a disproportionate assets case, had shot a video of Jayalalithaa when she was undergoing treatment at Apollo hospital, Chennai.

“Amma (Jayalalithaa) had lost a lot of weight,” said Dhinakaran. “It was a video shot by my aunt. You all know none would have seen Amma in a nightie, not any functionary. Even when late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Amma after her accident in 1989, she was fully attired; she always maintained that dignity,” added Dhinakaran. “We are ready to submit it at an appropriate time (during the inquiry),” he said.

Forest minister Dindigul C. Srinivasan on 22 September, while addressing a public meeting, said that AIADMK leaders had “lied” about their leader Jayalalithaa’s health, fearing Sasikala.

No one was allowed to meet the late chief minister, Srinivasan said in Madurai, adding: “Sasikala and her family would tell us Amma (Jayalalithaa) ate idli... we (in turn) told what she said.”

This drew flak from the opposition, whose leader, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) working president M.K. Stalin on Sunday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

“The Union government had sent three top doctors from AIIMS and it was aware of the treatment given to her. Also Union health minister J.P. Nadda had said the Centre was keeping a watch on her health. Since the Centre assisted in the treatment of Jayalalithaa, it has a responsibility to unravel the mystery surrounding her death,” said Stalin.

Stalin also questioned the authenticity of Jayalalithaa’s thumb impression that was used in election-related documents of AIADMK candidates for the by-elections to Aravakurichi, Thanjavur and Thiruparankundram assembly constituencies last year.

The 68-year old Jayalalithaa was admitted to hospital on the night of 22 September with complaints of “fever and dehydration”. Not much was known about her condition, except what was released in sporadic health bulletins from the hospital. She died on 5 December after suffering a cardiac arrest.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon