As the Madras high court cast doubts on the cause behind sudden death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa on Thursday, Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu said there was no reason to disbelieve doctors on the matter.
“The matter is sub judice and (I) should not make a comment on that. But I don’t have reasons to disbelieve the cause (of death) given by the doctor,” Naidu said in New Delhi.
Sharing “people’s doubts” over the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa, a Madras high court judge hinted he may order exhumation of her body on a plea seeking a high-level judicial probe into the “secrecy” preceding her demise.
The public should know what has happened, justice S Vaidyanathan said, issuing notices to the Central government, Prime Minister’s office and the state government, among others.
His observations came when the bench, also comprising justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker PA Joseph seeking a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee into the death of Jayalalithaa.
“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt. One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late chief minister MGR, video was released,” justice Vaidyanathan said.
Persisting further, he said, “Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased.”
Advocate general Muthukumaraswamy, however, contended there was “no mystery” behind the AIADMK supremo’s death.
The bench recorded the acceptance of notice by the counsel for the Union government on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office, the ministries of home, law and parliamentary affairs and CBI, and posted the matter for further hearing on January 9. The AG accepted notice on behalf of the state government.
The bench also issued notice to the Apollo Hospitals returnable by January 9.
The PIL sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges or a fact-finding committee to look into the “questionable incidents”, including Jayalalithaa’s sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and finally the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on December 5.
It listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s admission to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai on September 22 and claimed that the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” in the minds of the people.