The DMK on Sunday raked up questions about the controversial probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The AIADMK-initiated investigation, while meandering in its findings, has dragged on for over three years now.
MK Stalin raised questions on why the state government led one-judge Commission came out with no conclusions on the circumstances behind Jayalalithaa’s emergency hospitalisation in September 2016. The former chief minister died in Apollo Hospital, Chennai on December 5 after a 75-day hospitalisation.
While Satlin assured that culprits would be brought to justice under DMK’s rule, his recent statement can also be seen as a veiled attack at Jayalalitha’s aide VK Sasikala. The 69-year-old was jailed in 2017 in a disproportionate assets case and is scheduled to be released from Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara jail by the end of January.
The one-man Commission by retired Justice Arumughaswamy has conducted inquiries from a reported 154 witnesses, including 56 doctors from the Apollo and five from AIIMS, 12 government doctors, including the medical board of five doctors, 22 paramedical staff and 59 other witnesses.
The Commission had revealed details about Jayalalithaa’s liking for sweets, her relationships with nurses during her treatment at the Apollo Hospital, and other unexplainable events like the switching off of CCTV cameras. The commission, however, failed to conclude its probe after the hospital group decided to challenged the Madras High Court’s order of April 4, 2019, and had refused to stay the proceedings, including the summoning of all records by the Commission.
The time limit granted for the Commission to submit its report in the death probe was recently extended for the eighth time. The commission was first announced by Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in an apparent expression of outrage over the secrecy and veiled nature of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation.
It remains to be seen where the DMK is headed on this controversy. Still, it is likely to cause a lot of discomfort to Panneerselvam, VK Sasikala, and the AIADMK cadre ahead of state elections, due in May 2021.