The probe panel tasked with investigating the hospitalisation and death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has been granted yet another extension by the state government. A report was due by the (Retd) Justice Arumugasamy Commission on February 24, but the one-man Commission requested the government to push the deadline to June 24 this year. The latest extension is the fourth in the 18 months that the panel has been probing the late AIADMK supremoâ€™s death.
According to the Hindu, the Commission has issued summons, once again, to Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam. Panneerselvam has been asked to appear before the panel on February 28. It is to be noted that the Deputy Chief Minister had skipped an earlier appearance before the panel, citing official work.
The senior AIADMK leader had rebelled against his own party following the death of party chief Jayalalithaa in December 2016 over the late leaderâ€™s close aide VK Sasikala being elected party leader. As part of the compromise between himself and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamiâ€™s faction following the Supreme Court-ordered arrest of Sasikala, Panneerselvam demanded that a panel be constituted to probe the death of Jayalalithaa.
The Commission, which sits in Chennai, has been embroiled in multiple controversies in the last 18 months. In December last year, Apollo Hospital locked horns with the Commission, stating that the deposition documents of over 50 doctors are riddled with errors due to the inability of the probe panel to comprehend medical terminology. The Commission's counsel, in turn, accused the hospital of colluding with VK Sasikala to not provide Jayalalithaa with the 'best recommended treatment'. Top bureaucrat and former Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan was also dragged into the controversy for his remarks on the decision to not fly Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment. The Commission had stated that the Health Secretary failed â€˜to appreciate the fact that the welfare of the patient is the paramount considerationâ€™.