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Claims, counterclaims on Jaya’s hospitalisation deepen ‘mystery’ over Amma death

A raft of statements by several Tamil Nadu ministers comes before a one-man panel begins a probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa

india Updated: Sep 27, 2017 12:05 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Jayalalalithaa,Jaya death probe,AIADMK
Former AIADMK leader Sasikala (left), in jail for corruption, is blamed by many for the death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.(PTI file photo)

A one-man panel of Justice A Arumurghaswamy, formed to probe the death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, has its task cut out with a several ministers and AIADMK leaders making contradictory statements over her hospitalisation last year.

Jayalalithaa, one of the most enigmatic leaders in India, passed away at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai on December 5 last year after more than 70 days of hospitalisation from September 22 last year. Ever since, there have been hints at foul play with many pointing fingers at VK Sasikala, once a close aide of the late CM and who lived with Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar had too hinted at a conspiracy surrounding the AIADMK leader’s death, days after she was barred from entering the Apollo hospital to meet the former chief minister. Immediately after Jaya’s death, sidelined senior AIADMK leaders had even charged that she could have been murdered.

Who said what on Jaya:

Dindigul Sreenivasan, forest minister

“We had all lied about seeing Jayalalithaa in hospital and telling people that she was having idlis for breakfast,” he said in a speech at a public function in Madurai. “People in the party and the government all lied about meeting Jayalalithaa,” he said. He also accused Jaya’s aide Sasikala, now in jail, and her family, alleging they had manipulated Jayalalithaa’s treatment and prevented anyone from seeing her inside hospital.

Sellur K Raju, cooperation minister

“All of us, ministers, saw Jayalalithaa when she was undergoing treatment at Apollo. This is the truth.” Another minister, Nilofer Kafeel, too claimed she had seen Jayalalithaa in a conscious state when she was being wheeled out of the ICU.

VM Natarajan, tourism minister

“No one could see Jayalalithaa during hospitalisation for 72 days. We only saw her body being brought out on December 4.”

KC Veeramani, commercial taxes minister

“Out of fear of this family... we would tell what we were told (by Sasikala’s kin)... that Amma had two idlis, she spoke and that she is fine,” he said a public meeting in Vellore district, without naming Sasikala or her family.

TTV Dinakaran, former AIADMK deputy general secretary

Dinakaran, nephew of jailed leader Sasikala, has countered the allegations saying there was a video of Jayalalithaa inside hospital that would be made available to the probe panel. The video was shot by Sasikala, he claimed.

Opposition demand

The Opposition DMK, which had demanded a white paper on Jayalalithaa’s health long before she was even admitted to hospital, has sought a CBI probe into her death.

“Since the central government had assisted in the treatment of Jayalalithaa, it has a responsibility to unravel the mystery surrounding her death... Therefore, using its authority, it should immediately order a CBI probe into the matter,”DMK working president MK Stalin said in a statement.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 10:25 IST