Tamil Nadu deputy CM Panneerselvam summoned by panel probing Jayalalithaa’s death
Besides Jayalalithaa’s close confidant Sasikala, O Panneerselvam, who was interim chief minister when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised, had visited Apollo Hospital regularly where she was admitted from September till her death on December 5, 2016.Updated: Dec 13, 2018 19:54 IST
The inquiry commission probing the circumstances leading to the death of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has summoned Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to appear before it on December 20 for examination.
The Justice Arumughaswamy commission’s summons to Panneerselvam follows the panel’s decision deciding to question VK Sasikala, a close confidant of Jayalalithaa, now incarcerated at the Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru after being convicted in a case of owning disproportionate assets.
Besides Sasikala, Panneerselvam, who was interim chief minister when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised, had visited Apollo Hospital regularly where she was admitted from September till her death on December 5, 2016.
“When Jayalalithaa was under treatment, the then interim CM Panneerselvam has regularly visited Apollo Hospital. Therefore, we have asked him to appear for the inquiry,” said a source at the probe panel.
Others who have been summoned next week include Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan on December 14 and Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar on December 18.
On being forced to quit as chief minister to pave way for the coronation of Sasikala soon after the death of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, Panneerselvam launched his “Dharma Yudh” from Jayalalithaa’s ‘samadhi’. With a group of legislators supporting him, he alleged that the late chief minister’s death was shrouded in mystery. Later, as a precondition for the merger with the other faction led by now Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, he demanded a Commission of Inquiry to unravel the mystery and the purging of Sasikala, her nephew TTV Dhinakaran and their kin from the party.
After the merger, Sasikala and Dhinakaran were ousted and the Commission under retired high court judge, Justice A Arumughaswamy, was constituted in September 2017. So far, it had examined 130 witnesses, including IAS and IPS officers, surgeons and staff of Apollo Hospital and aides of Jayalalithaa like the car driver and cook.
The panel, on its third extension, is expected to submit its report on February 24, the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa.