The report of the Arumughaswamy Commission, set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of former CM Jayalalithaa, will be submitted to the state cabinet at its August 29 meeting and “appropriate action” will be taken, according to an official release
The long-awaited report from the Arumughaswamy Commission, set up to investigate the allegedly suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of late Tamil Nadu Prime Minister J Jayalalithaa, was presented to the state government on Saturday 27 August.
The report is due to be submitted to the State Cabinet at its meeting on Monday, August 29, by order of Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin, and “appropriate action” will be taken, according to an official release. In the run-up to the 2021 federal election, DMK had previously promised to take legal action against anyone guilty.
The report comes five years after the sinking of the former TN CM.
The commission, headed by a retired Madras High Court judge, Judge Arumughaswamy, was set up by the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government. The panel began its hearing on November 22, 2017. Although the Commission was asked to present the report three months after it was formed, its term has been extended some 14 times over the years.
In handing over the report to CM MK Stalin, Judge Arumughaswamy stated that it was now up to the government to decide whether to publish it.
Also read: Jaya’s death probe panel wins ninth extension amid allegations of state inaction
Satisfying Outing: Justice Arumughaswamy
Later, speaking to reporters, he said the 500-page report in English was prepared after hearing about 150 witnesses. The Tamil version was up to 608 pages. “Only the government can decide on the release of the report,” he said, adding that all the worrisome issues were mentioned in the report.
It was a “satisfying” outing for him, he told the media, adding that Apollo Hospital and V Sasikala cooperated with the commission. In addition to the circumstances leading to her hospitalization, the commission also investigated the accuracy, appropriateness and inadequacy of the medical treatment given to the former actor-turned-CM. This includes that she was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Chennai on September 22, 2016 with fever and dehydration. She died on December 5 of the same year after 75 days in hospital.
When asked if he had “doubts about anyone,” he replied, “That’s the report.” The retired judge declined to reveal “specific” details from the report. “I wrote less, but mentioned the pages of testimonies,” he said. Back in March this year, when he was removed from office before the panel, former Prime Minister O Panneerselvam said he had no suspicions about Jayalalithaa’s death and that he had only reflected the doubts in people’s minds when he asked for an assignment on the circumstances of hers investigate death.
Also read: SC stays investigation into Jaya’s death at Apollo
Arumughaswamy, meanwhile, added that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi submitted its report on Jayalalithaa’s death three months after her death. Many felt that the commission “worked like a court,” he said, thanking Stalin and the state government for allowing the commission to continue.
Among the witnesses dismissed before the commission were AIADMK Supreme Leader O Panneerselvam (OPS), Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa and nephew Deepak, doctors, senior officials and party leader C Vijayabaskar (former Minister of Health), M Thambi Durai, C Ponnaiyan and Manoj Pandian.
Deepa and Deepak had expressed doubts about the circumstances of their aunt’s death. K Sasikala, confidant of the late CM, had filed an affidavit through her attorney in 2018. And in her affidavit, she spoke, among other things, about the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa’s hospitalization.
Also read: OPS supports testimony giving VK Sasikala clean chits, hailing them as chinnamma
During the recent procedure, doctors at Apollo Hospital briefed a medical panel of specialists from AIIMS-Delhi on the treatment of Jayalalithaa via video conference. The AIIMS Panel had attended the proceedings virtually to assist the Commission in dealing with medical aspects as directed by the Supreme Court.
Commission proceedings suspended
The commission’s proceedings were interrupted after the Supreme Court ordered a stay on April 26, 2019, after Apollo Hospitals dragged the commission before the Supreme Court and called for a medical expert panel to be formed to support the commission. However, after nearly three years, the commission resumed its work on March 7, 2022 when the Supreme Court overturned the stay and installed a committee of medical experts from AIIMS, Delhi, to assist him.
In 2020, DMK boss Stalin, who called the commission an “eyewash”, had tweeted that if DMK came to power, those responsible for her deaths would be exposed and brought to justice.