The 613-page final report from the Arumugasamy Commission has stirred a storm across Tamil Nadu as it has uncovered the circumstances that led to the death of J Jayalalithaa, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu who died in December 2016. The final report of the commission was tabled by the ruling DMK government on Tuesday - October 18 in the assembly and it is the first time that the report has been released in the public domain.
Ever since it was released in the assembly, the final report had sparked a furore in the wake of shocking revelations, which suggested that Jayalalithaa was not conferred with life-saving treatments and that several hindrances and contradictions were made by the people around her. Particularly, the report pointed the fingers at Jayalalithaa's former aide VK Sasikala, who has been majorly accused of Jayalalithaa's death. Along with Sasikala, the commission has recommended the state government initiate actions against several people including the then-Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and the then-Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan.
The inquiry commission was formed in 2017 by the previous ADMK regime to investigate the circumstances of Jayalalithaa's death. The commission was led by the former Madras High Court judge Justice Arumugasamy. The commission had subpoenaed the government officials, hospital staff, and ADMK leaders and questioned them regarding Jayalalithaa's health condition and the treatment provided to her. After episodes of extension to its validity, the Arumugasamy commission has recently submitted its inquiry report to the MK Stalin-led DMK government in which the commission recommended taking action against VK Sasikala, her relative Dr Sivakumar, the former health minister C Vijayabaskar, and Apollo Hospital.
Weeks after the report was submitted, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin decided to table the commission's report in the assembly as mandated by the law that such commission reports must be presented in the assembly in six months. After the cabinet nod, Chief Minister MK Stalin submitted the report in the ongoing assembly session on Tuesday - October 18. The report revealed that there was a souring relationship between Sasikala and Jayalalithaa after the former was reinstated to the ADMK.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in September 2016 and the commission report has highlighted that Jayalalithaa's treatment went ahead after a nod from Sasikala and the next 75 days, till the death of Jayalalithaa, were clouded by mystery as Jayalalithaa's medical condition wasn't kept in the public space in the midst of circulating the message that she is doing stable and that she will decide when she has to go home.
The commission has quashed all such messages and that several fake announcements were made citing that Jayalalithaa was on the path of recovery. The commission's final report indicated that there were several hassles and hindrances to Jayalalithaa's medical treatment that were mainly caused by VK Sasikala. The report, which has come six years after Jayalalithaa's demise, has spurred a political storm and put VK Sasikala in trouble as she would be investigated and brought under the scanner at a high time when she is chalking out her political comeback.
Major questions sparked by the commission's report
- Why the hospital removed the CCTV cameras that were placed in the ward where Jayalalithaa was getting treated?
- What triggered a souring relationship between Jayalalithaa and Sasikala?
- Why has VK Sasikala shown more involvement towards causing hassles against saving her 'elder sister'?
- Why Sasikala didn't let the medical team proceed with the angioplasty procedure to save Jayalalithaa? Why it wasn't done till her last breath?
- Why suggestions of veteran doctors including London-based physician Dr Richard Beale weren't followed by the medical team?
- Why did Apollo Hospitals fail to give credible information about Jayalalithaa's health condition and what blocked the hospital?
- Why Jayalalithaa wasn't provided with proper treatments though a medical team from AIIMS Delhi visited her in the hospital five times?
- Why Jayalalithaa wasn't provided with heart surgery as recommended by US-based doctor Sameen Sharma?
- Why Sasikala blocked the surgery and whether she intentionally stopped higher treatments?
- Why the AIIMS doctors were offered luxurious facilities by the then-Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and they weren't accommodated at the government's guest house?
- Why the then-health department didn't take Jayalalithaa abroad for medical treatments?
- Why fake announcements were made and whether the senior ADMK leaders will be brought under the scanner?
- The then- Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao said he met Jayalalithaa and she raised her thumb. Will he be investigated in the case?
Shockingly, the Commission noted that there has been an irony in the date and time of her death. While it was announced that Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016, at 11.30 pm, the commission said that Jayalalithaa died between 3 pm to 3.30 pm on December 4, 2016, which also sparked a question on what made to change the date and time of the death. As both Apollo Hospitals and Sasikala knew what happened to Jayalalithaa, the commission accused Sasikala and Apollo Hospitals of being the reason behind her death.
The committee found criminality against the then-Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao and ordered that he has to be investigated. A similar investigation has been recommended against Sasikala, former health minister C Vijayabaskar, former health secretary J Radhakrishnan, and Dr Sivakumar (Sasikala's relative). According to reports, the Tamil Nadu government will be discussing with the ministers and legal experts ahead of launching a probe into these people for their role in Jayalalithaa's death.