CCTV footage of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s 75-day hospitalisation in 2016 has been overwritten. This was conveyed by the Apollo Hospitals, where the former AIADMK supremo received treatment, to the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission. This after the Commission, which is probing Jayalalithaa’s death, sought the submission of the CCTV footage.
On September 11, Apollo Hospitals had in a written communication to the Commission stated that it could not produce footage of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation as recordings on its storage drive are programmed to be automatically overwritten after a month, and replaced with new data, reported The Economic Times. Pointing out that the footage for the period September to December 2016 is no longer available, the private hospital in Chennai stated its inability to submit the data to the panel.
“These video files are very huge and they usually are stored for a period of 30 to 40 days. It then gets overwritten. There is no question of wiping out the footage. This is how the technology works,” said a source belonging to Apollo Hospitals to TNM. “Sometimes police or the court tell us to keep a backup of this footage. We keep it if this done so in writing. Otherwise, the hospital does not backup its files,” added the source.
When asked why CCTV footage was not automatically backed up given that Jayalalithaa was a sitting CM at the time of her hospitalisation and death, the source said, “it is about the privacy of a patient. Unless the court or the police ask us to keep a backup, we do not do so.” On the possibility of retrieving the footage, the source said, “In this case, it has been nearly two years since the footage was recorded. So that means, it has been overwritten at least 24 times. As far as I know, India doesn’t have the technology to retrieve this data.”
In May this year, Prathap Reddy, the Executive Chairman of Apollo Hospitals told reporters that CCTV cameras in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where Jayalalithaa was undergoing treatment, were switched off. “Unfortunately, we switched off all the cameras. All other patients were diverted and only one or two rooms were used. We removed the footage,” said Prathap Reddy.
Following this, the Commission had wanted to know from Apollo Hospitals COO Subbaiah Viswanathan who had ordered the cameras to be switched off.
The Arumughaswamy Commission was set up in September 2017. A number of people have deposed before the panel, including Jayalalithaa’s staff, doctors, technicians and others.