In a new development in the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a video has now surfaced that shows United Kingdom-based intensivist Dr Richard Beale saying that the late leader herself had refused to fly abroad for treatment.
The video which aired on Times Now on Monday was purportedly shot after Dr Richard Beale’s press conference in Chennai in February 2017. The video shows the doctor speaking to a man off camera. Even as the unidentified man is congratulating Dr Beale on handling the press conference 'very well', the doctor remarks, "It was difficult. We are trying to stay away from the politics as much as possible, I mean, you know you do your best."
Confirming earlier reports that the Chief Minister herself had refused to fly abroad for treatment, Dr Beale says in response to a question on the same, "To be honest, she (Jayalalithaa) just asked me whether it was necessary and I think, if we had said she must go, they would have said yes. I think, it was exactly what I said at the meeting. At the beginning, it was a difficult balance. Later, madam herself didn't want to go ."
When the unidentified person says that Jayalalithaa's close aide VK Sasikala 'should have made Jayalalithaa understand that she should come' in an apparent reference to travelling abroad, the doctor reflects, "But then, you know, you look back yourself at these things and you always wonder you should have done things slightly differently."
Dr Beale is then interrupted by the person and asked why Apollo didn't call him after November 2. The doctor says that he didn't know.
"I was in touch with Babu (Dr Babu Abraham). But exactly why I was not able to come in.. or what they felt.. She was certainly improving. So I think they felt she was making progress and it was not necessary," he says.
The latest video development emerges in the light of the Arumugasamy Commission locking horns with Apollo Hospitals, with the Commission’s counsel accusing the hospital of colluding with VK Sasikala to not provide Jayalalithaa with the 'best recommended treatment'.
TNM had reported last week that in his deposition, Dr Senthil Kumar, chief of the critical care unit in Apollo hospitals, stated that Jayalalithaa's health would not accommodate travel to hospitals abroad till the third week of October 2016. It was after this that the hospital broached the topic with government officials. Health Minister Vijayabaskar was part of this discussion, according to the doctor. This is in direct contradiction to the recent claims made by Law Minister CVe Shanmugam, that the cabinet was completely unaware of any deliberation on shifting the late Chief Minister abroad for treatment.
“In the third week of October, when the Hospital discussed this, Minister Vijayabaskar, the Health Secretary, Chief Secretary and other higher officials were present there. But they said that madam (Jayalalithaa) will not accept this (travelling abroad)," deposed Dr Senthil Kumar. "London doctor Richard Beale directly spoke to Amma about getting treatment abroad. When he came out, he said that she refused to do this," he had told the probe panel.
Dr Babu Abraham’s deposition too backs this version of events. “Dr Richard Beale told me he spoke to Amma and Sasikala about going abroad for treatment. He came out and said ‘Very strong-willed lady. I could not convince her to shift abroad'," he had said. He further added that he was not shocked by this decision, as Apollo Hospitals offers superior nursing care.