Panel begins probe into Jayalalithaa’s death

Updated - October 28, 2017 08:18 am IST

Published - October 27, 2017 02:30 pm IST - Chennai

 Justice A. Arumughaswamy

Justice A. Arumughaswamy

Former Madras High Court judge A. Arumughaswamy, who heads the Commission constituted by Tamil Nadu government to probe the circumstances leading to the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, on Friday set in motion the probe process by calling upon those acquainted with the issue to come forward and furnish information to the Commission before November 22.

The retired judge, who visited his office on the first floor of Kalas Mahal here, told reporters the inquiry into Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and subsequent death would be transparent. He did not elaborate despite being persisted with queries and said that all necessary information had already been spelt out clearly.

A statement issued from the Commission called upon “those with direct and personal knowledge and those related with it to submit affidavits to the Commission’s office” either in person or by post on or before November 22, 2017.

It is expected that the formal inquiry would begin on Monday.

When asked about the scope of the Commission, retired High Court judge K. Chandru told The Hindu that Commissions of Inquiry like these were more of a fact-finding body.

“They have limited powers and can only receive affidavits from memorialists.”

“In case of a CBI probe, it has powers to seize records in case it is needed, but a Commission of Inquiry has limited powers.

There are multiple instances where you can see Commissions extend their tenure for several years such as Liberhan Commission that went into the Babri Masjid issue,” Mr. Chandru said. Under Section 8-B and 8-C of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, however, the Commission can inquire any person.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had constituted the Commission of Inquiry following multiple representations over the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa on September 22 last year and her death on December 5.

The Commission is supposed to complete its inquiry and submit its report to the Government within three months of its constitution (September 25).

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