New Delhi: J Jayalalithaa’s long-time aide VK Sasikala has told the commission probing the late leader’s death that it was she who rushed Jayalalithaa to hospital even though the AIADMK leader and then chief minister of Tamil Nadu did not want to go to the hospital.
In an affidavit filed before the Justice A. Arumughaswamy Commission, Sasikala provides an account of what transpired at Jayalalithaa’s residence before she was rushed to hospital. She says she helped the former Chief Minister to her bed, where she “fainted”, reported The Hindu.
Jayalalithaa had indicated, says Sasikala, that she was unwell while she was in the bathroom situated on the first floor of her Poes Garden residence, after having brushed her teeth.
It was then that a team of doctors from Apollo was called and an unconscious Jayalalithaa was brought down from her her bedroom on a stretcher. Sasikala has declared that Jayalalithaa regained consciousness in the ambulance and wanted to know where she was being taken to. She was told they were en route to the hospital. Significantly, Sasikala has said she suggested a visit to the hospital on that very day, but Jayalalithaa had refused to go.
Sasikala claims that Jayalalithaa’s health issues were mainly due to the stress caused by her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in September 2014.
Sasikala has given the Commission a list of 20 doctors who had treated Jayalalithaa between November 2014 and September 2016. They work in different private hospitals in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Responding to allegations that no one was allowed to meet Jayalalithaa during her long hospitalisation between September 22 and December 5, Sasikala says the former Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had met her on October 22, 2016. AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and M Thambi Durai and Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar saw her sometime during September 22-27, 2016. However, both Panneerselvam and Thambidurai have said they were denied access to Jayalalithaa in her three months in hospital.
"We didn't go (to her room) out of good intention that she should not contract infection. We wanted her to return in good health... they (Sasikala) would come out and tell Amma is doing well, eating. We could only say okay...thank you.. We were in grief that Amma was ill," Panneerselvam had told press at the time.
Jayalalithaa died in Chennai's Apollo hospital in December 2016, amid questions fueled by the secrecy and limited access to the 68-year-old.
Panneerselvam, who took over as chief minister following Jayalalithaa's death, later revolted against her close aide Sasikala, alleging that he was forced to make way for her elevation to the top post of the state.
Following a patch-up between camps led by himself and Chief Minister K Palaniswami in August, the government constituted a one-man inquiry commission to probe the circumstances leading to the September 22 hospitalisation and medical treatment provided to her till her death on December 5.
The TTV Dhinakaran faction had released a video purportedly of Jayalalitha in the hospital recently ahead of the RK Nagar bypoll.
Sasikala is serving a four-year prison term in the Rs 66.6-crore disproportionate assets case at the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru.