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Jayalalithaa death probe: VK Sasikala to cross examine witnesses who deposed against her

The panel probing the circumstances surrounding former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death has permitted jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala to cross examine witnesses who deposed against her, according to media reports on Tuesday.

The Times of India reported that the Justice A Arumughaswamy commission agreed to Sasikala's request that all statements against her be provided to her. Sasikala also requested that her counsel Raja Senthoor Pandian be allowed to "cross examine" the witnesses.

There is no clarity if Sasikala, who is lodged in the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru, will travel to Tamil Nadu for the cross examination or participate via video conferencing, India Today reported.

Speaking to India Today, TTV loyalist CR Saraswathi lashed out at the O Panneerselvam-EK Palaniswamy faction and accused them of "confusing the people" over the death of Jayalalithaa. She added that the Sasikala loyalists only want to know what are the statements given by people against her.

News18 reported that Sasikala and her counsel will decide when they can cross examine those who made statements against her.

Sasikala is serving a four year jail term in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case after the Supreme Court convicted her and two others in February, 2017.

She is currently on a "vow of silence" since the death anniversary of Jayalalithaa on 5 December, 2017.

The one-man inquiry commission had summoned Sasikala on 21 December, 2017 to depose on her knowledge of Jayalalithaa's admission to the hospital and medical treatment provided till her demise. The summon, which had given Sasikala 15 days to respond, had stated that some of the witnesses examined by the commission had given evidence against her.

 Jayalalithaa death probe: VK Sasikala to cross examine witnesses who deposed against her

File image of jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala. PTI

Through Pandian, Sasikala filed an application requesting that the commission disclose details of all those who had deposed against her.

Sasikala contended that details of the evidence against her were not given to her. According to The Hindu, she had said that she had a right to be heard to produce evidence in defence, and to cross-examine under Sections 8B and C of The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

The mystery surrounding Jayalalithaa's death has been lingering for more than a year now.

On 17 January, Sasikala's brother V Divakaran claimed that Jayalalithaa died on 4 December, 2016 and the announcement of her death was postponed at the behest of the Tamil Nadu government.

"The AIADMK delayed the announcement for security reasons and to secure all Apollo group of hospitals in the state,” Divakaran was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2018 20:18:46 IST