The government of Tamil Nadu extended the time given to the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission to probe the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalthaa.
The last extension granted to the one-man Commission ended on June 24, following which the state government announced further extension of four months on Thursday. This is the eighth time that the time limit granted for the Commission to submit its report is being extended by the state government.
The one-man Commission by retired Justice Arumughaswamy was announced in August 2017 by Edappadi K Palaniswami, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to investigate the death of J Jayalalithaa. The former Chief Minister died in Apollo Hospital, Chennai in December 2016 after a 75-day hospitalisation.
As a part of its probe, the Commission conducted inquiries with hundreds of people including expert doctors, medical staff, ministers and the state health secretary. London-based doctor Dr Richard Beale was also ordered to depose in front of the Commission in 2019 since he was closely involved with the selection of treatment that was provided to Jayalalithaa.
In 2019, the Commission and Apollo Hospitals were embroiled in a case in which the Commission accused Apollo Hospitals of obstructing the probe. Meanwhile, the hospital claimed that the Commission lacked the expertise to understand medical terminologies in its reports and documents and the nature of treatment provided to Jayalalithaa by its doctors. It was only a few days before this case that the Madras High Court had dismissed a petition by Apollo Hospitals seeking a stay on the Commissionâ€™s proceedings. The hospital had demanded that a 21-member expert medical panel be put in place to help the Commission. The court, however, said that the Commission had the power to investigate the appropriateness and the adequacy of treatment provided to Jayalalithaa.