SC stays proceedings of Jaya death probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed the proceedings of Arumughaswamy inquiry commission that was set up to probe the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospitals in 2016.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was hearing the appeal of Apollo against the 4 April order of the Madras High Court rejecting its objection against the ongoing inquiry into the death of the AIADMK leader at the hospital.

“Notice. Stay of further proceedings of the inquiry commission,” the bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said.

Apollo Hospitals made an appeal in the Supreme Court on 10 April against the verdict of the Madras High Court rejecting the plea by the hospital to stop the probe by the Arumughaswamy Commission into the death of Jayalalithaa.

The hospital had moved the Supreme Court against the commission stating that it lacked medical expertise to understand the case. It wanted the setting up of a committee comprising experts from 21 medical departments to get to the bottom of the case.

But the Madras High Court 4 April rejected the plea and allowed Arumughaswamy to go ahead with the probe. It cautioned the commission to stick to the parameters set by the government.

Jayalalithaa died in Apollo Hospitals after being under treatment for 75 days in 2016. Since no one was allegedly allowed to visit her, suspicion was raised about the treatment and the cause of her death.

When Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam agreed to merge his faction of the AIADMK with that of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, he laid the condition that their party supremo’s death be probed. Keeping his side of the promise, the CM appointed Justice Arumughaswamy to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa.

Politicians, Jayalalithaa’s relatives and aides, apart from doctors from Apollo Hospitals were summoned by the commission. They had recorded their statements and were cross-examined by Jayalalithaa’s aide V K Sasikala’s counsel. But Apollo Hospitals contested some of the observations of the commission and said it lacked medical expertise.

‘Next action soon’
Speaking to mediapersons about the Supreme Court’s stay order, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said further course of action will be decided after legal consultation.