Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa died in December 2016. The Arumughaswamy Commission to probe her death was constituted in August 2017. It is now February 2020.

On Jayalalithaas 72nd birthday seventh extension for probe into her death
news Jayalalithaa death Monday, February 24, 2020 - 18:30

The one-man committee to probe the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has been granted its seventh extension in over two years. The extension to the Arumughaswamy Commission was granted on Monday, incidentally the 72nd birthday of the late AIADMK supremo. Party leaders gathered to remember Jayalalithaa at events across the state while Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami visited the late leader's Poes Garden residence in Chennai to pay his respects.

Jayalalithaa, who was hospitalized in September 2016, just months after her re-election as Chief Minister, passed away in December 2016. News and updates regarding her hospitalisation were closely guarded, leading to multiple allegations being levelled against her close aide VK Sasikala in the aftermath of her death. In February 2017, O Panneerselvam, who is currently Deputy Chief Minister, rebelled against the party’s decision to elect Sasikala as leader.

However, infighting between Sasikala and O Panneerselvam came to an end soon after the former was convicted in the 1996 Disproportionate Assets case. With Edappadi Palaniswami elevated as Chief Minister in the interim, one of the conditions put forth for a merger with his faction by Panneerselvam was a probe committee. 

In the weeks and months following her death, accusations had been levelled against not just Sasikala but also other AIADMK leaders’ accounts, regarding discrepancies in the hospitalisation and subsequent death of Jayalalithaa. With the two fighting factions coming together, a probe committee was announced in August 2017. Retired Justice Arumughaswamy was to lead the probe. 

The Arumughaswamy Commission's probe, however, has been taking place at a glacial pace, with the state government granting the committee its seventh extension on Monday. The committee was initially given a three months to complete its probe. Over the last two years, the commission has been at loggerheads with Apollo hospitals where Jayalalithaa was receiving treatment, alleging that the hospital was impeding the investigation.

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