Jayalalithaa’s death probe | Arumughaswamy Commission indicts Sasikala, Vijayabaskar and two others

The Commission of inquiry into the death of former TN CM Jayalalithaa, has also found her doctor K.S. Sivakumar and former Health Secretary Dr. J. Radhakrishnan “at fault”, as well as “criminality” against then Chief Secretary Rama Mohan Rao

October 18, 2022 12:35 pm | Updated October 22, 2022 02:22 am IST - CHENNAI

V.K.Sasikala, a close confidante of late J Jayalalithaa, pays floral tributes to the AIADMK former supremo Jayalalithaa on her birth anniversary at Chennai. File

V.K.Sasikala, a close confidante of late J Jayalalithaa, pays floral tributes to the AIADMK former supremo Jayalalithaa on her birth anniversary at Chennai. File | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

The Justice Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, has found her aide V.K. Sasikala, her doctor K.S. Sivakumar, IAS officer and then Health Secretary Dr. J. Radhakrishnan and former Health Minister Dr. C. Vijayabaskar “at fault”. The report, which was tabled in the Assembly again, recommended further investigations into their role.

The report says that “heart vegetation, perforation, and diastolic dysfunction had been found” for which consultants from abroad — Richard Beale from the United Kingdom, Stuart Russel and Samin Sharma from the United States — had recommended angio/surgery and it asks why the intervention was not performed.

Also Read | The full report of Justice Arumughaswamy Commission in English

The report went on to claim that U.S. doctor Samin Sharma had convinced the late Chief Minister to agree for an angio, and a U.K.-based expert Richard Beale, had also said he was prepared to take her abroad for treatment, but it did not materialise.

It also accuses two doctors of Apollo Hospital who were involved in treating the late Chief Minister through her hospitalisation of 75 days of not acting on the suggestion of surgery and says: “They successfully threw it to the wind on the pretext of postponing it, to achieve their aim under some pressure.”

Notably, the report itself does not specify what pressure might have been exerted on them, and it has recorded several statements by specialists who recommend surgery be performed at the earliest, suitable moment, depending on the condition of the patient.

In this context, it has also recommended an investigation of Apollo doctors Y.V.C. Reddy and Dr. Babu Abraham.

Representational image. File

Representational image. File | Photo Credit: BIJOY GHOSH

Against Rama Mohana Rao, the then Chief Secretary, the Commission found “criminality” over him affixing his signature on 21 forms on various dates for the procedural aspects.

“Of course it is a man-made vital lapse and he would reap the consequences, especially because the life of late CM was involved. Hence, investigation is to be ordered.”

The report trained its guns on Pratap C. Reddy, Chairman of the [Apollo] hospital, “though he is the person bound and authorised to state true facts, with his full knowledge that it was not true, issued a press meet with a false statement that the late CM can be discharged at any time.”

Also Read | Editorial: A travesty of justice: On Jayalalithaa death probe panel

He issued briefings in his room “often without disclosing the real fact” regarding the heart ailments and the treatment to be given to the late CM. “It is for the government to decide and investigate the matter,” the report added.

While press conferences were few and far between, the hospital issued regular bulletins to provide to the public brief updates about the then CM’s health condition as on that date. 

Also Read | Flogging the dead: On Jayalalithaa death and the probe panel’s report

Though the report itself has has received extensive documents from the hospital and also recorded the depositions of many hospital staff during the course of its inquiry, all of which are present, the final report claimed that no “contra evidence or documents were put forth before the commission other that stating that the hospital gave the best treatment.”

The report also seeks to fly in the face of an official certification of death by qualified medical professionals to introduce doubt as to the correct time of death, going by the version of Deepak, Jayalalithaa’s nephew who had no opportunity to meet her in hospital or had any briefing from the hospital.

Deepak said he had performed the rites for the first anniversary of her death, considering the time of death as between 3.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. on December 4 (a day ahead of what was certified). The report calls it “germane”.

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After Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5, 2016, following a long period of hospitalisation, the AIADMK government constituted the Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances that led to her death. The Commission submitted its report to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on August 27.

The AIIMS medical panel constituted to assist the Arumughaswamy Commission with the medical reports earlier submitted its report giving Apollo Hospitals a clean chit in the treatment provided to Jayalalithaa, and concurred with its final diagnosis.

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