Tamil Nadu

Jayalalithaa’s driver says her toes, fingers were not amputated

The funeral procession of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in Chennai on December 6.  

Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's driver Ayyappan on Thursday termed “false'' the reports that said her toes and fingers were amputated and asserted that he, along with Deputy Superintendent of Police Karuppasamy, tied her toes and fingers before the death rituals were performed.

“I started working for her in 1991 and I know well the facts. Chinnamma  [V.K. Sasikala] took care of her well till the last minute. Even my relatives used to ask me why I was continuing in the job. Chinnamma was loyal and truthful. Truth will triumph one day,” he told reporters after deposing before Justice Arumughasamy Commission of Inquiry, which is probing Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and death, between 11.45 a.m. and 1.15 p.m.

Mr. Ayyappan, a native of Tirunelveli, said Sasikala had no role in recruiting him for the driver job and he got the job through a travel agency.

Jayalalithaa could be hospitalised only after she became unconscious. “If she had been conscious she would not have visited the hospital. She would ask the doctors to visit her,” he said recalling that poor health forced her to wind up her programmes half way through on September 21, a day before her hospitalisation.

She flagged off only four buses and inaugurated the Metro Rail through video conferencing. “After that she did not go to her chamber and told me that she was not well and wanted to go home as quickly as possible and I dropped her,” he said.

Even after her health condition deteriorated, she refused to pay heed to the advice of Dr. Sivakumar and Chinnamma to visit the hospital on the ground that she had other official functions that had been postponed, he claimed.

'Not present when she was shifted to hospital'

Mr. Ayyappan said she was not there when she was shifted to hospital as he had left for home after duty.

“Suddenly I received a call about the hospitalisation and I went there to hand over her belongings to her secretary Poongundran,” he said. Sasikala, former Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao and her personal security officer Veeraperumal were there. DGP Rajendran also visited her.

Mr. Ayyappan said he saw Jayalalithaa thrice during her 75-day hospital stay. “I took her body and kept it in the freezer. Since a lot of women were there, men assembled in Poes Garden left. I, along with DSP Karuppasamy, tied her toes and fingers for performing rituals,” he said.

Then Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Ministers would regularly visit the hospital by 9.30 a.m. every day and stay till lunch. “After that they would visit again and stay till 10.30 p.m.,” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 11:03:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/driver-asserts-jayalalithaas-toes-not-amputated/article22990876.ece

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