Jayalalithaa death: Inquiry Commission recommends probe against Sasikala

VK Sasikala quits politics ahead of Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu
VK Sasikala | Photo: IANS

Chennai: A panel that probed the circumstances leading to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's death in 2016 indicted V K Sasikala, the confidante of the late leader, and the government on Tuesday said it would initiate action after getting a legal opinion.

The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry (CoI), in its report, that was tabled by the Tamil Nadu government in the Assembly on Tuesday said that considering several aspects it 'indicts' Sasikala and recommended a probe.

The government said that considering the CoI's disagreement on certain aspects vis-a-vis the AIIMS doctors committee's report, "it was decided to initiate appropriate action" based on its recommendations against "certain individuals," after obtaining the opinion of legal experts.

The CoI report also indicted medical doctor K S Sivakumar (Sasikala's relative), the then Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, and former Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and said that they, "have to be found fault with an investigation is to be ordered."

The panel recommended an investigation against the then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao and two medical doctors, though it did not specify if it found "fault" with them or not. It said the government may "decide and investigate" the matter against the chairman of a corporate hospital, where she was treated.

The CoI's Terms of Reference (ToR) was to inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation on 22 September 2016 and subsequent treatment provided till her demise on 5 December 2016. In its finding, as regards the first part of the ToR on circumstances leading to the late AIADMK supremo's hospitalisation, the Commission said it "has not found anything abnormal or unnatural" in the conduct of the people including Sasikala.

Adequate care was taken to shift Jayalalithaa to the Apollo Hospital promptly without delay, it said. On the other aspect of the ToR, the Commission indicted people including Sasikala. The CoI in its 475-page report goes into the allegation of conspiracy against Sasikala and her relatives based on reportage in a Tamil magazine.

The panel said that it was very clear that, "only on strong suspicion," Jayalalithaa sent Sasikala out of her Poes Garden residence (from November 2011 to March 2012).

Subsequently, after getting a letter from Sasikala that she would not interfere in politics, Jayalalithaa allowed her back into her Poes Garden residence and the leader kept her "at a distance."

On a plea to cross-examine former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy, the panel said the applicant has not given sufficient reasons for it. The panel submitted its report to the government on 27 August this year and it was taken up for discussion in the Cabinet meeting held on 29 August 2022.

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