A day after Tamil Nadu Forests Minister C Sreenivasan publicly admitted that AIADMK leaders had lied about former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaaâ€™s final stay in hospital, the government named retired High Court judge Justice A Arumughaswamy to lead the probe into her death.
The appointment is in keeping with one of the conditions set by the erstwhile O Panneerselvam faction for the merger with the Edappadi Palaniswami faction. On August 17, ahead of the merger, the government had announced that Jayalalithaa's death will be probed by a Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired judge.
Justice A Arumughaswamy, who retired from the Madras High Court in 2014, rose through the ranks of the subordinate judiciary, to finally serve as a High Court for a little over three years.
He was reportedly appointed as a district munsif in 1986, and became a sub-judge in 1991. He was then elevated as a district judge in 1998. After being appointed as registrar-general of the High Court in March 2009, he was elevated as a High Court judge on February 17, 2010.
Following his retirement, he was named Chairman of the Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) in Mumbai.
Justice Arumughaswamyâ€™s appointment comes at a time when the DMK is demanding a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa's death. Speculation has been swirling around the issue, ever since OPS â€“ and those who had rebelled against former Interim General Secretary VK Sasikala with him â€“ had claimed that crucial information on Jayalalithaaâ€™s final days was withheld from them.
On Friday night, Sreenivasan gave credence to the speculation by saying, "We would have told lies that she (Jayalalithaa) had idlis and people met her. The truth is that nobody saw her."
Sreenivasan said he is seeking apology from the people now for "those lies".
According to him, everyone in the government and in the ruling AIADMK party "lied about the people" who had met Jayalalithaa in Apollo Hospital, where she was admitted on September 22 last year. He said that no one except Sasikala had been allowed to see her in the hospital.
Sreenivasan said even national leaders used to sit in Apollo Hospitals Chief Pratap Reddy's room and the AIADMK Ministers would also be seated in that room.
"We all lied then so that the party's secret does not get leaked," he said.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital on the night of September 22, and passed away in the hospital on December 5.
During her final days, information from the government and the hospital about her health condition was scarce.
Even up to a few days before her death, most of the communication about her health condition claimed that she was on the road to recovery and was doing well.