Deepa, Deepak's sister had recently told TNM that she would contest for her rights in Jayalalithaa’s property.

Jayalalithaas nephew backs Sasikala says property will go into the right hands including hers
news Jayalalithaa Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 17:25

On December 6, thousands of people gathered at the MGR Memorial in Marina beach to witness the final moments of Jayalalithaa’s funeral. But in the minds of the millions watching the event on TV, there was one question – who was the man standing with Sasikala while the last rites were being done?

That was Deepak Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s brother Jayakumar's son and one of Jayalalithaa’s few existing blood-relatives.

Deepak has stayed far away from the public glare all his life. He has never spoken out and many did not know who he was until after the funeral. He is also the brother of Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s niece who has been vocal against Sasikala, and claims that she was not allowed to meet her own aunt.

Deepa had recently told TNM that she would contest for her rights in Jayalalithaa’s property.

I am Jayalalithaa's legal heir and I am ready to fight: Deepa Jayakumar to TNM

Deepak has now spoken to Tamil magazine Junior Vikatan. In the interview, where he refers to Jayalalithaa endearingly as ‘athai’ (father’s elder sister), and Sasikala as ‘Sasi athai’, he talks about his life, his relationship with Jayalalithaa, Deepa’s ‘gap’ with her aunt and what will happen to all the property which Jayalalithaa owned.

The full interview has appeared on the magazine. Here are some key points he makes in the interview.

Deepak says that he has always been around Jayalalithaa and Poes Garden, and was also at the Apollo Hospital for much of the time she was admitted there. He last visited her house four months ago, for a puja. He says she was very strict so he would not spend too much time there.

He denies that any distance that existed between him and Jayalalithaa, but says that he stayed away from her political life and asked her for help only if he wanted anything.

He alleges that Deepa created the ‘gap’ or distance between her and Jayalalithaa.

“But I used to talk to Athai always. I used to come and go to Poes Garden often. I used to ask her for help and she used to provide it. Deepa never asked her for anything. Athai used to scold me often. Someone will tell her something about me. She'll immediately call me and ask me for an explanation, discipline me, scold me. I'd give an explanation. But Deepa didn't do that. When Athai scolded her in anger, she shot back saying, "Why are you scolding me?" And that created a gap,” he said.

In 1992, at an event marking AIADMK govt's second anniversary. Deepa in pink and white salwar kameez is next to her mother, Sasikala behind them

He also blames Deepa for her not being allowed inside Apollo. He said that they did not allow him also initially, but later one of Jayalalithaa’s aides got him in. “But Deepa didn't do this and she spoke to the press. If I had been in Deepa's place, I wouldn't have done this,” he said.

He also dismisses questions about the role of Sasikala or Apollo in Jayalalithaa’s death. He said multiple doctors attended Jayalalithaa and though the progress was monitored by Dr. Sivakumar, a member of the Sasikala family, the doctors took independent decisions. “Even now, people say she poisoned her and so on. I don't believe it. It cannot be true by any chance,” he said.

He said that he has no interest in politics now, and that his advice to Deepa also, will be to avoid it.

He refuses to take any clear stand on Sasikala becoming the leader of the party, and says that the AIADMK has to decide.

Speaking about Jayalalithaa’s wealth, he says it will go to the rightful people and that he will not allow it to go to the wrong people. “The wealth will go to the rightful people. I'll not allow it to go to the wrong people. Sasi Athai also won't allow it. Other than Sasi Athai, Natarajan uncle, if anyone tries to come in and ask for their rights, I will not allow it. Neither will Deepa. If anyone uses this wealth for Athai's memory or for the benefit of the poor, I'll be the first person to help."

Deepak also endorses Sasikala’s ‘hard work’ for the party. 

Other excerpts from the interview:

Sasikala's loyalty to Jayalalithaa is being questioned now.

Everyone in the party today knows that along with Athai's hard work, Sasi Athai's hard work was also there. Likewise, the party seniors know the love and loyalty that Sasi Athai had towards Athai. Leave love and loyalty aside. Till the end, Athai kept Sasi Athai by her side. In between, for four months, she sent Sasi Athai out.

At that time, both Sasi Athai and I used to go to Pamban Swamy temple every day. Then Sasi Athai used to grumble, "What is she doing? Is she eating? She's going to spoil her health!" Other than those 4 months...for nearly 34 years I think, it was she whom my Athai trusted. 

Even now, people say she poisoned her and so on. I don't believe it. It cannot be true by any chance. In the hospital, they'd kept a tracheotomy tube for Athai. Because of this, she couldn't talk properly. Before the cardiac arrest, she was well for 15 days. She couldn't walk, but she was fine otherwise. At that time, she used to write 'S' on a slate next to her. If she writes 'S', it means she's calling Sasi.

As soon as she goes there, she'd become emotional and cry. Because of this, doctors told Sasi Athai also not to go to the 2nd floor. Even under such tough circumstances, Athai trusted her only. So, I trust her too. If they'd been the wrong people, my Athai would have known about it. She's not a fool to trust them blindly. Even if they'd been the wrong people, it was them that my Athai trusted. So, I will also trust them. I don't have a father or a mother. I considered Athai to be my mother. Other than them, if anyone else comes, I'll not accept them.

You're the only blood relation of the late TN CM. Where were, you hidden all these days?

I was not hidden anywhere. I was here only. I've been coming and going to Poes Garden. During the hospitalisation, Athai was in the 2nd floor in the CCU, Sasi Athai, her family and I were in the 3rd floor.  

When Jayalalithaa was fine, when was the last time you visited Poes Garden?

4 months ago, there was pooja in Poes Garden. Normally, I ate in the afternoon there and left at night.

Will you join AIADMK?

I've seen how Athai struggled in politics in person.  Is politics an ordinary thing? Hard work, sacrifice...and then the party people have to accept you. After that, the people have to accept you. Because of this, I have no interest as of now.

They say Sasikala is going to become in charge of AIADMK. Will you welcome this?

This is a party that Athai grew. Sasi Athai also has a part in that. What can I say about this? It's the party people who should say. What's the use of me supporting Sasi Athai? What will she lose if I don't support her? If at all I support, you'll write, "Sasikala family has bought Deepak. They have given him slow poison. They've used magic on him. Deepak has been sold!" (laughs).

How much did Jayalalithaa help your family?

Our father died in 1995. Since then to till she died, it was in her protection that we lived. This is the truth whether it's Deepak or Deepa.

You were next to Sasikala's family when Deepa was not allowed into Apollo?

On Day 1 in Apollo, the police didn't allow me also. They said, "We don't know you, sorry Sir." It was very late that night, so I returned home. When I went the next day also, the police on duty did not know me. I called Poonkundram (Jayalaithaa's PA) over the phone and told him. He came and took me inside. But Deepa didn't do this and she spoke to the press. If I had been in Deepa's place, I wouldn't have done this. I'd have gone to Athai and complained about the police or Sasi Athai or Poonkundram in person.