June 02 2020
Jaya panel seeks info from Chief Secretary, Raj Bhavan
20 September 2018

Sends letter with questions relating to the hospitalisation of former Chief Minister

The Commission of Inquiry looking into the death of Jayalalithaa has written to the Chief Secretary and the Raj Bhavan, asking them to provide more information on the former Chief Minister’s hospitalisation in 2016.

Justice (Retd.) A. Arumughaswamy’s letter, sent on Tuesday to Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, had four questions, while the one sent to the Additional Chief Secretary to the Governor, R. Rajagopal, had seven.

He has asked the Chief Secretary whether the five-member team of government doctors appointed by the government on September 30, 2016, to assist Apollo Hospitals’ medical personnel, submitted a report to the government, and if not, why no action was taken against the doctors.

Incidentally, the Commission has already examined all five doctors.

Except one, the members of the medical team had deposed before the Commission that they did not even see Jayalalithaa in Apollo Hospitals. Dr. R. Muthuselvan, one of the five, had reportedly said that they had been asked to move to a different room when Jayalalithaa had to be taken out of the room for a CT scan; they spotted the Chief Minister’s stretcher from their new location, but Jayalalithaa was behind curtains.

The doctors gave various reasons for not filing a report: some said that it was because they did not treat Jayalalithaa and the others did not see the need for a report since the Health Minister and Health Secretary frequently visited the hospital.

Justice Arumughaswamy has also asked Ms. Vaidyanathan to explain whether the Health Department kept the Cabinet informed about the treatment provided to Jayalalithaa. The Commission’s final question is whether P. Rama Mohana Rao, the then Chief Secretary, had apprised either the State or the Central governments, the Chief Minister-in charge or the Governor of Jayalalithaa’s health.

A source said that the letter to the Raj Bhavan was prompted by the September 11 testimony of the then-Principal Secretary to the then Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao. In his deposition, IAS officer Ramesh Chand Meena told the Commission that the Raj Bhavan had not sought or received information from the government or Apollo Hospitals regarding Jayalalithaa’s health during October 23-December 3, 2016. The only source of information was government doctor P. Balaji, whom Mr. Meena rang up for information.

The Arumughaswamy Commission has asked the Raj Bhavan to provide information, if any, received from either Apollo Hospitals or the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Jayalalithaa’s health. The Commission has asked if the then Governor Rao was apprised of such information and has asked how the Governor reacted to them. The Commission has also asked the Raj Bhavan whether the Governor sent reports to the Rashtrapati Bhavan after visiting Jayalalithaa in hospital on October 1 and 22, 2016; Mr. Meena had deposed that such a letter was sent after the first visit.

‘Footage overwritten’

Meanwhile, Apollo Hospitals has informed the Commission that it is not in possession of the CCTV footage during the period of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation. The hospital’s September 11 letter was in response to a September 6 letter from the Commission to Apollo Hospitals chairman Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, asking his organisation to submit the footage within seven days.

“Every 30 days, the server overwrites on the previous 30 days’ footage. That is an ongoing process, which is the process even now. Nothing changed during the former Chief Minister’s hospitalisation. We are unable to produce the footage for this reason: the footage is overwritten every 30 days and there is no backup. That is a normal process; there is nothing unusual about it,” said lawyer Maimoona Badsha, who appeared for Apollo Hospitals.



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