Discrepancies in the depositions by Jaya’s staff, doctors and her close aide VK Sasikala have added to the mystery around what really happened to the leader.

Over a year after Jayas death mystery deepens as gaps in narrative emerge
news Politics Friday, July 06, 2018 - 12:45

Over a year-and-a-half after former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away, what happened on the night she fell ill, her subsequent hospitalisation and her demise, remains unclear.

This even as the one-man panel headed by former High Court judge Justice A Arumughaswamy began the probe over eight months ago.  

While her 75-day hospitalisation remained shrouded in secrecy, the subsequent press conference by Apollo Hospitals two months after her death did little to dispel the rumours surrounding the former CM’s death. Discrepancies in the depositions to the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission by Jayalalithaa’s staff, doctors and her close aide VK Sasikala have also added to the mystery around what really happened to the 68-year-old leader.

Timelines don’t match

It has now emerged that Jayalalithaa’s health was seriously deteriorating prior to the massive cardiac arrest she suffered on December 4, 2016. Echocardiogram technician Nalini told the inquiry Commission that an echocardiogram test taken at 3.50pm on December 4 had indicated that Jayalalithaa’s health was deteriorating, reported Economic Times.

According to her deposition, Nalini stated that when she rushed into the room with the ECG equipment at 3.50pm, doctors were already attempting to revive the then CM by massaging her heart. The technician’s deposition, however, contradicts the Apollo Hospitals health records of Jayalalithaa, which stated that at 4.20pm on December 4, the CM, while watching television had complained of worsening breathlessness with her nurses, duty doctors and family members present in the room. CPR was performed and defibrillation was done, stated the Apollo Health records.

Sasikala’s statement to the Commission also said that Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest at 4.20pm, while she was watching television in her hospital room.

The sequence of events as narrated by Nalini, however, is in line with what Apollo Hospitals Diabetologist Jayashree Gopal and specialist Dr Babu Abraham, who also treated Jayalalithaa, have said – that they rushed to the hospital after receiving a call at 4pm.

Gaps in the story

There have also been discrepancies in what really happened on September 22, 2016 – the night Jayalalithaa was admitted at Apollo Hospitals.

In his deposition, driver Kannan said the then CM’s Personal Security Officer Veeraperumal had directed him to get the car. But on getting the car, Jayalalithaa’s maid had asked him get a bigger car.  He also said that he was then asked to rush to the first floor of Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence at 10pm, as Sasikala had called him, reports India Today.

Jayalalithaa was unconscious on an armchair when he entered the room, Kannan stated and added that together with Veeraperumal, they tried to lift the chair that ‘Amma’ was on. However, when they saw her slipping, they decided to use a stretcher instead. It was then that the ambulance arrived, Kannan narrated.  

However, CNN-News 18 reports that in both Sasikala and her relative Dr Sivakumar’s statement to the Commission, Jayalalithaa had fainted on the bed and the driver together with the PSO had tried to shift her from the bed to the chair, but were unable to do so.

Other gaps in the sequence of events as narrated by Kannan and Dr Sivakumar include what time the latter left Veda Nilayam – Jayalalithaa’s residence.

While Kannan states that he saw Dr Sivakumar leave at around 8.30pm on September 22, he says he did not know when he returned to the Poes Garden residence but was present when he entered Jayalalithaa’s room later that night.

Neither Sasikala nor Dr Sivakumar’s statements mention the time the latter left Veda Nilayam nor what time he returned. Both, however, have stated that they had called for the ambulance at around 9.30pm that night.

Kannan, meanwhile, also told the Commission that there were CCTV cameras present at Veda Nilayam. However, he was unsure whether the events of that night were recorded.