Why Was Jayalalithaa Not Taken Abroad For Treatment, Asks Panel

In a deposition that lasted five hours on Monday, 3 December, the panel probing the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa asked Dr KS Sivakumar why she had not been taken abroad for treatment and why a surgery had not been performed on her. The Justice Arumughaswamy Commission was cross-examining Dr Sivakumar, a relative of VK Sasikala, two days prior to Jayalalithaa’s second death anniversary.

According to the The Times of India, the commission asked Dr Sivakumar, "If Jayalalithaa returns and questions you on why you did not perform a surgery on her, what would you tell her?”

As per The Hindu, the commission even invoked the popular catchphrase from Shakespeare: “You too, Brutus: why you did not opt for surgery?” while referring to performing an angiogram. To this, Dr Sivakumar said that all medical treatment possible was given to the former CM.

Also Read: The Many Moods of Jayalalithaa

A source had told TNM at the time of her hospitalisation that they were wary of taking Jayalalithaa abroad as she had always shunned foreign trips.

Many years ago Jayalalithaa’s astrologer had reportedly warned her against foreign trips and for a long period of time, she did not possess a passport.

The source had added that that was the reason they were reluctant to take her abroad, especially when the then CM was unconscious.

The commission also asked Sivakumar if he or Sasikala considered or discussed with other ministers about airlifting Jayalalithaa to a foreign country for treatment. The panel showed two newspaper clippings to explain how former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had intervened and insisted that former CM MG Ramachandran be given treatment abroad in 1984.

On 25 September 2016 when Jayalalithaa was receiving treatment, a health bulletin issued by Apollo Hospital COO Subbiah Vishwanathan ruled out taking the late CM abroad for treatment.

"Meanwhile, there have been rumours and conjectures circulated falsely in the social media about Honourable Madam's health condition, stating that she will be taken abroad for treatment. These are totally false and baseless. There is no question of taking the Honourable Chief Minister abroad for treatment, as there is no necessity for this."

In a report by News18, Dr Sivakumar, a plastic surgeon who was coordinating Jayalalithaa's medical treatment, said that an angiogram could have been performed but he was not a cardiologist.

"I am fully satisfied about coordinating the treatment for Amma. My aunt (Sasikala) and I were fully supportive of her treatment." - Dr Sivakumar, Plastic Surgeon

Also Read: Amma Ballad – The Story of Jayalalithaa, Tamil Folk Style

Jayalalithaa was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital on September 22, 2016. She was reportedly responding well to her treatment till she suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away on December 5, 2016.

In August 2017, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced a one-man commission to inquire into the hospitalisation and subsequent death of Jayalalithaa, who passed away following a 73-day illness.

Meanwhile, the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission on Tuesday, 4 December, warned to take action against media organisations if any news pertaining to its terms of reference was published without prior permission.

“The press as well as the media are prohibited from telecasting any news or serial or debate pertaining to the aforesaid terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry without obtaining prior permission of the Hon’ble Commission of Inquiry,” read an order by the Commission, which added that any violation or deviation in this regard “will be viewed seriously and consequently appropriate action will be taken against the violating persons in accordance with the law.”

Also Read: That Fateful Day When Amma Passed Away and All Hell Broke Loose

The directive was passed while hearing an application filed by VK Sasikala, regarding a six-episode documentary on the death of Jayalalithaa on Sun News. Sasikala’s lawyer N Raja Senthoor Pandian objected to this and wanted the channel to submit the documents used as evidence in the programme.

According to The Hindu, the Commission, however, said that reporting on its daily proceedings will not be prevented.

A source had told TNM at the time of her hospitalisation that they were wary of taking Jayalalithaa abroad as she had always shunned foreign trips. This as many years ago her astrologer had warned her against foreign trips and as a result during large periods of time she did not possess a passport. The source added that that was the reason they were reluctant to take her abroad especially when the then CM was unconscious.

(This article was published in collaboration with The News Minute)

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