J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala has denied an inquiry commission’s allegation that she was responsible for the lapses in the treatment of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. In a 3-page letter, Ms Sasikala rejected charges made against her by Justice Arumughaswany Commission and said the need for an angiogram never arose for Jayalalithaa and she did not prevent any move to take her abroad for treatment.
Declaring that she was ready to face any probe, Ms Sasikala wrote that the doctors had decided at the time that no angiogram was required for Jayalalitha.
“Jaya and I were a model for friendship. We broke up deliberately to understand the veracity of a plot to separate us. I joined Jayalalithaa after understanding the background of the plot,” she added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ms Sasikala’s lawyer told NDTV that Ms Sasikala had nothing to do with the treatment given to Jayalalithaa. Whether an angiogram was done or not was a call taken by the doctors, including the team from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences sent by the Central government and this is a matter of evidence, he said.
“There is evidence that this is a collective decision of doctors. There was concurrence of AIIMS doctors sent by the Central government. Nowhere does it say that Ms Sasikala had ordered it. You know the position of the law. there should not be any assumption,” Raja Senthura Pandian had told NDTV.
None of the witnesses examined had said that “angiogram was interfered with… that Sasikala had interfered. There is no evidence,” he added. The doctors had decided to conduct the angiogram later and there is evidence of it, he said.
The single judge inquiry commission, which looked into the death of Jayalalithaa in 2016 amid a barrage of conspiracy theories, has recommended that the state government investigate VK Sasikala and three others — including the then health minister Dr Vijayabhaskar and Chief Secretary.
Justice (Retired) A Arumughaswamy said they were responsible for lapses, including not taking her abroad for treatment despite recommendation by experts. Jayalalithaa had perforation in her heart and experts from AIIMS and Dr Richard Beale from the UK had recommended an angiogram and treatment abroad.
Mr Pandian also added that the retired judge who has advised the state government to investigate Jayalalithaa’s death, was overstepping his brief from the Supreme Court.
Citing the petition of Chennai Apollo hospital — where Jayalalithaa was admitted — to the Supreme court that contended that the former judge was biased and unequipped to handle medical issues, Mr Pandian said the top court had laid clear boundaries for the commission.
Quoting the court’s order on this matter delivered in November 2021, he said the court had said the commission cannot “decide rights or liabilities or decide any questions on guilt or innocence of anyone”.
The commission can only “offer its opinion to the government” on whether the treatment given to Jayalalithaa was “adequate or not… on the basis or oral and documentary evidence”. The top court in its order also said it hopes the commission will “confine itself in this frame of reference,” he added. “The Honourable Justice has discarded it,” Mr Pandian said.
The report, submitted in August, was shared in the state assembly today by the DMK government. The report is likely to have political repercussion for the opposition AIADMK and its former ministers. A government order said the state plans to consult legal experts on the next course of action.