Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission, which probing the circumstances surrounding the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, has written to the State Home Secretary and Karnataka jail administration seeking permission to examine in person her personal aide V K Sasikala in the Parapahara prison in Bengaluru .
Sasikala, who has been serving out a four-year prison term handed out by the Supreme Court upon her conviction along with Jayalalitha in the assets case, has already filed a 55-page affidavit before the commission and her lawyer Raja Senthurupandian has examined several witnesses who have deposed against her in the commission .
In her affidavit, Sasikala recalls that an unwell Jayalalitha refused to be hospitalised earlier in the day on September 22, 2016. However, around 9.30 pm the same day, Jayalalitha complained of uneasiness, and fell unconscious soon after. Sasikala’s relative Dr Sivakumar, who is a plastic surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, called Vijay Kumar Reddy, the husband of Apollo Hospitals' Vice Chairperson Preetha Reddy and Jayalaitha was admitted the same night.
Sasikala also said Jayalalitha had a history of illnesses and her health worsened following her 22-day imprisonment upon her conviction in the Disproportionate Assets case in 2014. Sasikala submitted a list of 20 doctors who had treated Jayalalitha between November 2014 and September 2016.
The former aide also denied that no one was allowed to meet Jayalalitha during her hospitalisation, stating that then-Governor Vidyasagar Rao, then Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Thambidurai, and Health Minister Vijayabaskar were among those who met her.
This has been strongly denied by Ministers and others, saying they were not allowed into the intensive care unit and they only enquired with Sasikala and Jayalalitha's personal secretary and IAS officer Sheila Balakrishnan.
The judge, who has already examined doctors from Apollo Hospitals and the Government General H ospital who attended on Jayalalitha, also plans to examine Dr Richard Beale, a London-based specialist, through video conference. .
Dr Beale addressed a joint press conference along with doctors Apollo and Government General Hospital three months after Jayalalilha’s death. He made it clear that world class t treatment was given to Jayalalitha during the 75 days she was in hospital from Sept 22 till Dec 5 2006, considering the fact that she was 67 and she had a history of high blood pressure and sugar.
Dr Beale was flown in to clear the air at the instance of Sasikala following insinuations that she had something to gain from the death of Jayalalitha.
The commission, set up in August last year, has already examined 130 witnesses, including doctors, top bureaucrats and politicians since the commission was set up in September last year. Two years have passed since Jayalalitha’s death and the probe is yet to conclude its enquiry.