The one-man commission probing the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has been granted yet another extension by the government of Tamil Nadu. The announcement on Wednesday is the third extension granted to the retired Justice Arumugasamy Commission in the 14 months since it was constituted.
In August 2017, CM Palaniswami announced a one-man inquiry commission to probe the death of the former Chief Minister, who died following a 73-day illness in December 2016. The Commission, whose mandate is to inquire into the hospitalisation and subsequent death of the late CM, was given a three-month time period to complete its probe, which was extended to six months in December 2017.
In June, the Commission sought and received another four-month extension just as it was due to submit its report. When the second extension expired on June 24, the Commission was to submit its report on October 24.
The latest extension is for another four months. A report may be expected on February 24, co-incidentally on the late CMâ€™s birth anniversary.
The Commission was the result of a bargain between Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam -- then warring factions within the ruling AIADMK.
The 2017 announcement of instituting the panel was made on September 25, a day after Tamil Nadu Forests Minister C Sreenivasan publicly admitted that AIADMK leaders had lied about the former Chief Ministerâ€™s stay in the hospital.
According to Sreenivasan, everyone in the government and in the ruling AIADMK party had "lied about the people" who had met Jayalalithaa in hospital, where she had been admitted since September 22. He had said that no one, except her close aide Sasikala had been allowed to see her in the hospital. Srinivasan later apologised for these remarks.
With several senior bureaucrats, close aides, household staff from Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence and multiple doctors testifying before the committee, new details have been reported from the time of her hospitalisation at Apollo Hospitals on Greenways Road in the city. However, no conclusive word has been forthcoming from the probe.