Finally, Arumugasamy commission completes the Jayalalithaa death probe: What's next?

Finally, after four and a half years, the Arumugasamy commission has completed the probe into the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and is all set to disclose the report to the Tamil Nadu government as the next process. Set up in 2017, the commission has run into episodes of twists and turns and has inquired about hundreds of people who are connected to the hospitalization and the demise of Jayalalithaa. 

According to reports, the inquiry has been completed as per the terms of reference on Tuesday- April 26. It has been reported that the commission, which was headed by retired High Court judge Justice Arumugasamy, will commence its preparation to submit the report to the state government as its next step. The committee was constituted in September 2017 by the previous ADMK regime headed by Edappadi Palaniswami with the task of inquiring about the circumstances and situation that led to the hospitalization of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on September 22, 2016, and the treatment provided to her until her demise on December 5, 2016. 

PTI has quoted the sources saying that the commission has completed the probe as per the terms of reference. On Tuesday, former ADMK spokesperson V Pugazhenthi had appeared before the panel and made his submissions. He had asked the commission to inquire about former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. However, the commission didn't issue an official statement regarding questioning Palaniswami and it now has completed the inquiry. 

During its tenure, the commission had inquired over 150 witnesses and some of the high profile witnesses include ADMK's coordinator O Panneerselvem, Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa and nephew Deepak, doctors, and top officials and ADMK's C Vijayabaskar. On the other hand, VK Sasikala, who was with Jayalalithaa during the latter's entire hospitalization, had filed an affidavit through her counsel in 2018. 

In recent weeks, the commission has questioned several doctors from Apollo Hospitals, who were part of Jayalalithaa's medical team that treated her. As per the Supreme Court's direction, a doctor panel from AIIMS had taken part in the questioning of Apollo doctors virtually to aid the commission on the front of medical aspects.

As the commission has ended its enquiry after four and a half years, the development has spurred expectations for its final report and hopes are rife that the commission would reveal what happened to Jayalalithaa and her final days. It must be noted that the commission has had multiple extensions and halts and it is expected that the final report will be submitted to the government before the current tenure of the extension ends on June 24, 2022.