We did not intend to force Sasikala to appear before the commission: Justice Arumughaswamy

Asked whether the Commission had found any mystery in the death of jayalalitha, he said the report would say about it. “It was for the government to decide whether to release or not. I cannot say anything,” he said.

August 27, 2022 02:56 pm | Updated 07:15 pm IST - Chennai

Justice A. Arumughaswamy

Justice A. Arumughaswamy | Photo Credit: The Hindu photo library

Justice (retired) A. Arumughaswamy, who is heading the Commission that inquired into the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation and death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, said he did not intend to force Ms. Sasikala to depose before the Commission.

Talking to reporters after submitting the final report to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday, Mr. Arumughaswamy explained it would be too elaborate if he went into the issue of why he had not forced her to depose before the commission.

“The commission sent a summon and gave an opportunity to her to depose before it. When she sent it in writing that she would not appear, we cannot compel her. Though the commission has the right to summon her, we did not test it,” he said whether the commission had come to the conclusion that it was not necessary for her to appear before it.

Mr. Arumughaswamy said even if the commission decided to make her depose her before the commission, it could have been possible only after the deposition of all other witnesses. “Then you may say that we have given notice to her only with a view to extending the tenure of the commission. So I got her affidavit and left it at that,” he quipped.

To a question whether he was able to get answers from Ms. Sasikala’s affidavit, Mr. Arumughaswamy said it was not fair to go into the details. “But the affidavit will not say what we require,” he said.

The commission was constituted in 2017 and given 14 extensions. Even on August 4, this year, it received one more extension. The English report runs into 500 pages and the Tamil report has 608 pages. A total of 154 witnesses deposed before the commission

“The report speaks more about what the witnesses have deposed. My views are limited,” he explained and acknowledged the support of the Supreme Court, the state government headed by both the AIADMK and the DMK.

Asked whether the Commission had found any mystery in the death, he said the report would say about it. “It was for the government to decide whether to release or not. I cannot say anything,” he said.

Mr. Arumughaswamy also expressed satisfaction over the cooperation extended by Apollo Hospitals. “The two advocates and the doctors cooperated with us,” he said.

He said he had not recommended any guidelines to be followed when a leader like Jayalalithaa was hospitalised. “There are old schemes. Her’s is a peculiar case and rare. There was no one to take care of her, family wise. Personally, I have some views on the issue,” he added.

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