Even as Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala Natarajan was declared the AIADMK leader by the ruling party in the General Council meeting, the Madras High Court on Thursday expressed doubts over the late Chief Minister’s death.
While hearing a petition filed by an AIADMK member named Joseph, the vacation bench comprising of Justice Vaidyanathan Justice Parthiban observed, “We have personal suspicions about Jayalalithaa’s death.” Referring to news reports during Jayalalithaa’s 75-day hospitalisation, the judge asked, “There were reports of her eating, talking, attending meetings and signing documents. Then how did she die all of a sudden. At least now after her death, the truth should be revealed”
The bench also went on to say that the court could order the exhumation and post-mortem of Jayalalithaa’s body. “Even after death, you have not given medical records, why can’t we order exhumation of the body?” the High Court asked the Tamil Nadu government. While the bench went on to issue notices to the Prime Minister, state and central governments, the case was adjourned to January 9.
A PIL was filed by PA Joseph seeking that the Centre set up a judicial probe to "find out the truth and to inquire into mysterious death" of the late Chief Minister. In his petition, the AIADMK member states,
"A person who was holding highest public office, who was the Chief Minister of the state and who was very hale and healthy just two months back fell sick over the course of a day and in the dark of the night was admitted to a hospital. The news was that she was just suffering from fever and will return home in 2 days. But what happened was shocking array of events which drew petitioner to file the present petition."
Jayalalithaa was declared dead on December 5 after suffering a cardiac arrest a day earlier. She had been hospitalised at Apollo Hospital on September 22 with fever and dehydration. Medical bulletins issued by the hospital initially stated that the Chief Minister was stable, under treatment and required rest. Meanwhile, an intensivist from the UK, Dr Richard Beale was flown in to oversee Jayalalithaa’s treatment along with a team of doctors from Apollo Hospital. Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences were also flown into help with Jayalalithaa’s course of treatment. However, Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest on December 4 and was pronounced dead at 11:30pm the following day.
Following a funeral on December 6 attended by several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa was laid to rest at the MGR memorial on Marina Beach in Chennai. The late CM was given a burial, instead of a cremation, just as her predecessors MGR and Annadurai were.
On December 18, expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa also moved the Supreme Court seeking a judicial probe into Jayalalithaa’s death, calling it “suspicious”. In her petition, Pushpa had said that Jayalalithaa’s medical condition was not disclosed, no one was allowed to visit her and her hospitalisation was “kept under wraps.” A similar plea was filed in the apex court by the Tamil Nadu Telugu Yuva Sakthi claiming that doubts have been raised over the circumstances of the AIADMK leader’s death and her medical reports needed to be examined by experts.