Stalin Questions Panel’s Failure to Complete Probe in 3yrs, Vows Action Once in Power

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The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Sunday raised questions on an investigation that was ordered into the death of former chief minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa.

The investigation, initiated by the ruling AIADMK government, has dragged on for over three years now while meandering in its findings.

DMK president MK Stalin asked why the one-judge commission could not reach any conclusion on the circumstances surrounding Jayalalithaa’s emergency hospitalisation in September 2016 and subsequent death 74 days later on the night of December 5 at Apollo Hospital, Chennai.

While Satlin said that culprits would be brought to book once the DMK comes to power, his recent statement is also being seen as a veiled attack on Jayalalitha’s aide VK Sasikala. The 69-year-old was jailed in 2017 in a disproportionate assets case and is set to be released from Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara jail by the end of January.

The one-man commission, headed by retired Justice A Arumughaswamy, had reportedly spoken to 154 witnesses — among them were government doctors, those from Apollo, and AIIMS, the medical board of five doctors and paramedical staff. He had also recorded statements of politicians, including Sasikala and her relatives, over what happened with Jayalalithaa during the last few months of her life.

The commission had thrown up interesting details about the late CM’s liking for sweets, her relationships with nurses at the hospital, and unexplainable events like the switching off of CCTV cameras, but failed to conclude its probe after the hospital group decided to move court over the scope of the probe.

The time limit granted to the commission to submit its report was recently extended for the eighth time. The commission was first announced by Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in an apparent bid to throw light on the secrecy and veiled nature of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death.

While it remains to be seen where the DMK takes ahead this controversy, Stalin’s statement is likely to cause a lot of discomfort to Sasikala, Chief Minister Panneerselvam and AIADMK cadres ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu next year.

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