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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

TN health secy was against taking Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment: Minister

The minister’s outburst against the senior bureaucrat comes after the commission probing Jayalalithaa’s death said Radhakrishnan “colluded and conspired” with Apollo Hospitals and “inappropriate treatment” was provided to her.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2019 15:40 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
AIADMK members pay floral tribute to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on her 70th birth anniversary in Coimbatore.
AIADMK members pay floral tribute to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on her 70th birth anniversary in Coimbatore.(PTI File Photo)
         

Tamil Nadu’s law minister CV Shanmugam has sought a probe into the role of state health secretary J Radhakrishnan during the hospitalisation of former chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in 2016.

Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016, after being treated in the hospital for 75 days from September 22, 2016, for various ailments.

“He (Radhakrishnan) was against taking Amma abroad for medical treatment. He opposed it saying it would paint Indian doctors in a poor light,” Shanmugam, believed to be close to chief minister EK Palaniswami said while speaking to reporters in Villupuram on Sunday.

“The health secretary has not considered the plight of the patient … Saving a patient’s life is important than protecting the reputation of doctors...This government must probe his (Radhakrishnan) background,” he said.

The minister’s outburst against the senior bureaucrat, serving in the health department for more than six years, comes after the commission headed by retired judge Justice A Arumughaswam probing Jayalalithaa’s death said Radhakrishnan “colluded and conspired” with Apollo Hospitals and “inappropriate treatment” was provided to her.

The panel has also charged former chief secretary PS Rama Mohana Rao of purposefully giving false evidence at the time of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation.

Read more| Tamil Nadu deputy CM Panneerselvam summoned by panel probing Jayalalithaa’s death

Alleging that Jayalalithaa was not given proper care, Shanmugam wondered why angiogram, a procedure to evaluate blockages in the heart, was not performed on Jayalalithaa.

“At a time when even the poor get an angiogram, why Jayalalithaa was not done that procedure? Who prevented it and who was in control?” he asked and squarely blamed the health secretary for keeping everything under the cloud of secrecy.

“Amma would have been alive had she been given proper treatment during her 75-day-hospitalisation,” he said. “The truth should be made public and a probe is necessary.”

Further, he charged Jayalalithaa’s confidant VK Sasikala and her family of feasting at Apollo Hospital.

“The enormous amount of food bill was enough proof that Sasikala and her relatives feasted at the hospital while Amma was under intensive care,” he fumed.

Apollo Hospitals in a bill summary submitted to the Arughamugaswamy commission said that the food bill accounted for Rs 1.17 crore and room rent Rs 1.24 crore. The total bill for her treatment was Rs 6.85 crore of which Rs 44.56 lakh is yet to be paid.

Radhakrishnan has dismissed the allegations levelled against him as “unfounded, baseless and wild” and said he had, so far, not been served a copy of the petition filed by the commission’s counsel.

The allegation that he “conspired and colluded” with Apollo Hospital and acted as its spokesperson was “not only false but also slanderous”, the top official said.

“Whether to take her or not to a foreign destination for treatment was purely a medical decision for which it would not be correct to hold an official like him responsible,” he had said.

This is the first time a senior IAS officer has been targeted by a cabinet minister. The state health minister Dr C Vijayabhaskar has also been summoned by the panel.

Read more| Panel probing Jayalalithaa’s death to question Sasikala in Bengaluru jail

(With agency inputs)