The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry probing the death of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has completed examining as many as 100 witnesses, with its tenure set to end next month.
As on September 25, 57 witnesses have been cross-examined and 11 more, including Apollo Hospitals doctors, will face questioning on September 27 from the counsel for VK Sasikala, an aide of the former AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa. Significantly, Dr K S Sivakumar, the personal physician of Jayalalithaa, has been summoned to appear on September 28 for re-examination.
Sivakumar's next appearance will be his fifth and he has been asked by the panel to furnish a list of doctors the late leader consulted between 2014 and 2016 and the medication prescribed and followed by her. Some of those summoned have sought an adjournment, including Alok Kumar, a bank manager in Nilgiris district and two more people who are abroad. Apollo Hospitals' radiologist Dr Meera and emergency doctor Thava Pazhani have been summoned to appear on September 28.
A few days ago, Dr Archana, a doctor at the Apollo Hospitals, where the former chief minister was admitted during her final days, told the panel that an audio clip released in May was indeed recorded at the hospital when she was being treated there. Dr Snehasri, an emergency doctor too had deposed that when she went to the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa on September 22, 2016 (hours before her hospitalisation) the late leader was drowsy but conscious.
AIADMK leader P Manoj Pandian, who appeared on September 25, blamed Sasikala during his cross-examination for the alleged "mysterious" circumstances surrounding the former chief minister's death. Jayalalithaa passed away on 5 December 2016 after being treated in the hospital for 75 days from September 22 for various ailments.
In September 2017, the state government had constituted the probe panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, mandating it to probe the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and also the treatment provided by the hospital until her demise. The commission, whose term has been extended twice since then, had invited all those having "personal knowledge and direct acquaintance" to furnish information related to her.
Several persons, including present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his followers, had earlier raised suspicions about the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's death.
The Commission began its hearing on 22 November 2017 and Madurai-based DMK functionary P Saravanan deposed before the panel on that day. He said he had brought to the panel's notice of the alleged discrepancies in press releases and the final discharge summary of the hospital where Jayalalithaa received treatment.