Jayalalithaa’s death probe: Panel summons AIIMS doctors

Chennai: The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry, probing the circumstances leading to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death, has summoned three doctors of AIIMS, who examined her at the Apollo Hospital here, to appear before it on 23 and 24 August.

The commissioned has summoned G C Khilnani of the Department of Pulmonology, Anjan Trikha, Professor of Anaesthesiology, and Nitish Nayak, professor at the Department of Cardiology.

The doctors had periodically examined Jayalalithaa when she was undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospitals between 22 September and 5 December, 2016.

So far the commission’s 75 witnesses and seven others who had voluntarily petitioned the panel have been examined.

Of them, over 30 have been cross-examined by counsels for V K Sasikala, the jailed aide of late AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa.

It may be recalled that the examined witnesses include over a dozen doctors (government and Apollo Hospital), retired and serving government officials and police officers.

In September 2017, the Tamilnadu government constituted the panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

Late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa

The panel’s terms of reference was to inquire into the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa on 22 September, 2016, and treatment provided by the hospital till her demise on 5 December, 2016.

The Commission had invited all those having ‘personal knowledge and direct acquaintance’ in the matter to furnish information to it.

Following Jayalalithaa’s death, suspicion on the circumstances leading to her demise was raised by several people, including the present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his followers.

Then a rebel party leader, Panneerselvam and his followers had demanded a probe into her death, either a judicial inquiry or a CBI probe.

After unification of the factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, the government notified constituting the panel.

The probe was a key precondition put forth by the Panneerselvam panel for the merger.

DMK working president M K Stalin had batted for a CBI probe as well.