Jayalalithaa death: Arumughaswamy panel submits report; TN cabinet to discuss it on August 29
Retired judge Justice A Arumughaswamy, appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the circumstances and situations leading to the hospitalisation of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa and subsequent treatment provided till her demise in December 2016, submitted his report to chief minister M K Stalin on Saturday.
The report is in three volumes. It runs into 500 pages in English and 608 pages in Tamil.
“The chief minister has given instructions to place the report as an agenda in the cabinet meeting scheduled on August 29 for appropriate action,” said a government statement.
Law minister S Regupathy and chief secretary V Irai Anbu were present when Justice Arumughaswamy presented the report to the chief minister.
The tenure of the commission, which was constituted on September 25, 2017 by the previous AIADMK regime, ended on August 24, 2022, after repeated extensions by the successive governments.
The commission was one of the key demands of the former chief minister O Panneerselvam for the famous merger with the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led faction.
Justice Arumughaswamy told reporters that the successive governments had extended full cooperation to the commission and there was no interference.
“The cooperation (of the DMK regime) was high in vacating the stay (against the proceedings of the commission) in the Supreme Court. I have submitted the report. It is for the government to decide whether the report has to be released,” he said.
Against the backdrop of allegations that the commission had dragged its inquiry for four years, the retired judge said he had inquired only for 13 months in all. The commission had examined 149 witnesses in a year of constitution of the commission and therefore there was no delay in the probe. There was full cooperation from Apollo Hospitals as well as V K Sasikala to his inquiry.
On why he did not visit the late chief minister’s residence in Poes Garden as part of his investigation, Justice Arumughaswamy said there was nothing suspicious about the late chief minister being brought to hospital from the residence.
“We investigated her health, habits, how she took care of herself and who all treated,” he said, adding that his commission answered the doubts regarding the death of Jayalalithaa as far as possible.
Asked if he didn’t feel the necessity to get Sasikala, the close confidante of Jayalalithaa, deposed before the commission, Justice Arumughaswamy said he had not compelled Sasikala. “We issued a summons to her and gave an opportunity. It is not appropriate for the court to compel after she gave in writing that she would not come. I left it at that,” he said.
Panneerselvam and Sasikala’s sister-in-law J Ilavarasi, a co-convict of Jayalalithaa in a disproportionate assets case, deposed before the commission.
The inquiry panel also took note of the recent report of the AIIMS committee constituted based on the Supreme Court direction that ruled out any error in the treatment extended by the Apollo Hospitals to the late chief minister, Justice Arumughaswamy said.