Jayalalithaa’s last known audio recordings released

“I sound like someone sitting in the front seat of a movie theatre and whistling,” she said on the night of September 27, 2016, even as she struggled to breathe.

Updated - May 27, 2018 07:59 am IST

Published - May 26, 2018 11:32 pm IST - CHENNAI

An image of Jayalalithaa's notepad.

An image of Jayalalithaa's notepad.

In the last-known audio recording of her speech, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa attempts self-deprecating humour to describe her laboured breathing.

“I sound like someone sitting in the front seat of a movie theatre and whistling,” she said on the night of September 27, 2016, even as she struggled to breathe.

Jayalalithaa was hooked to a ventilator on September 28 morning and on October 6, a tracheostomy was performed on her, restricting her ability to speak.

The two recordings, released to journalists by an official at the Commission of Inquiry, looking into the death of the former Chief Minister, on Saturday were made by K.S. Sivakumar, who coordinated her treatment.


Dr. Sivakumar, a relative of Jayalalithaa’s close aide V.K. Sasikala, submitted a USB stick, which contained the two recordings and a notebook of Jayalalithaa’s handwritten notes, as evidence before the Justice (retd.) A. Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry during the cross-examination by Sasikala's lawyer.

The audio files are in addition to the four videos of Jayalalithaa in hospital — shot by Mrs. Sasikala — already before the Commission after having been submitted by her nephew and MLA T.T.V. Dhinakaran.

Ms. Sasikala's lawyer N. Raja Senthoor Pandian said Dr. Sivakumar had told the Commission that he recorded them on his phone on the request of Jayalalithaa. The then CM wanted the recordings to be sent to R. Narasimhan, respiratory medicine specialist at Apollo Hospitals, as she wanted the doctor to know of the extent of her difficulties.

The clips are less than 40 seconds each. The first documents Dr. Sivakumar abandoning his attempt to record after Jayalalithaa becomes unhappy with his efforts. “Can you hear anything,” she asks, choking. “No, Amma....I have downloaded the application,” replies Dr. Sivakumar. In the background, a machine beeps rhythmically throughout. “Let it be if you can't record it,” Jayalalithaa says, between coughs. “Okay,” he replies.

The observation about her breathing comes in the next recording: dry, delivered without mirth. An unidentified woman reads out a blood pressure reading: “One forty....high level” “By...?”, the Chief Minister asks. “Eighty,” says the woman. “It's okay for me. Normal,” comes the reply, in English. The clip ends.

A Commission official said that on Saturday Dr. Sivakumar said he heard Jayalalithaa speak only once after that: in late October 2016, when she was moved to a private ward. The staff had been asked to stick pictures of various Gods on the walls of the room; as soon as she regained consciousness, the then CM identified two: Anjaneya and Lakshmi Narasimhar.

The Commission official also released the last two pages, part of a 98-page spiral-bound notepad used by Jayalalithaa, to journalists. Dr. Sivakumar told the Commission that there are multiple such notepads, where Jayalalithaa recorded her daily food and medicine intake, and vitals of her health in green ink. In the notepad submitted to the Commission, Jayalalithaa has recorded her routine from June 16, 2016 to August 2, 2016. Dr. Sivakumar told the Commission that there are multiple such notepads; they are now within the personal room of Jayalalithaa at Veda Nilayam, now sealed by the Income Tax department.

Dr. Sivakumar did not interact with waiting journalists after his cross-examination. Lawyer Mr. Pandian said that Dr. Sivakumar had clarified on his May 2, 2018 testimony before the Commission. He had said that Jayalalithaa had not seen the Governor on October 22, 2016, when he waved at her from beyond a glass partition at the Apollo Hospital. On Saturday, Dr. Sivakumar said that he had seen the Governor wave at Jayalalithaa, but was not in a position to see whether the then-CM responded.

On Saturday, Mrs. Sasikala’s lawyer also examined Shanta Sheela Nair, former Officer on Special Duty at the Chief Minister's office and Veeraperumal, a Personal Security Officer to Jayalalithaa. Mr. Pandian said that Veeraperumal had modified his testimony two hours after he told the Commission during cross exam that all 32 Ministers of the State government had met Jayalalithaa in hospital; Veeraperumal later modified it to say that he meant that all Ministers had met the then CM at her Poes Garden residence.

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