At a time when speculations over Jayalalithaa's health during her hospitalisation is at its peak, the Madras High Court has summoned the Chief Election Commissioner on October 6, over the former Chief Minister's thumbprints in the election forms. The official will have to explain how it was ascertained that the print was taken with her permission and whether she was conscious at the time.
Justice Velmurugan was hearing a case filed by the DMK leader Dr Saravanan who had lost the election in Thiruparankundram where bye-polls were held along with the Thanjavur and Aravkuruchi. The petitioner had questioned in November after the election results came out whether the then CM was conscious when her thumbprint was taken. The petitioner argued that the candidature was invalid if she was not conscious.
The Chief Election Officer of Tamil Nadu and the Revenue Officer had reportedly assessed the thumbprint and allotted the symbol. But the court has now demanded that the Chief Election Commissioner explain exactly how the process was overseen.
Nomination papers uploaded by the Election Commission in October showed that her left thumb impression was attested by Dr P Balaji of Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital with Apollo Hospital’s Dr Babu K Abraham as a witness.
“The signatory is presently hospitalised at Apollo Hospital, Greames Road, Chennai. Since the signatory has undergone a tracheotomy recently and has an inflamed right hand, she’s temporarily unable to apply her signature. Hence, she has affixed her left thumb impression on her own in my presence,” said a statement attested by Dr P Balaji.
This directive from the Madras HC comes at a crucial junction when a retired judge has been appointed to lead the inquiry commission into Jayalalithaa's health.
Founder of Apollo Hospitals, Pratap Reddy, when asked about the investigation said, "We welcome the inquiry commission over Jayalalithaa’s death, we will cooperate with the commission. We have given a detailed statement on the treatment given to Jaya, we can’t respond to the recent developments in Jaya’s death."
Ministers in the government, meanwhile, are unable to agree upon whether they had full information about the then Chief Minister's health.
On Friday, Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dindigul Sreenivasan made a shocking revelation that no party or national leaders were allowed to meet Jayalalithaa at Apollo hospital while she was undergoing the treatment and apologised to the people for lying.
On the other hand, Co-operatives Minister Sellur K Raju said that all ministers were allowed to meet her.
TTV Dhinakaran meanwhile claims that he possesses videographic proof of Jayalalithaa from her time in the Apollo hospital.