Jayalalithaa's death: AIADMK imposes gag order on members discussing issue; TTV Dinakaran demands CBI probe

Days after startling claims made by Tamil Nadu forest minister Dindigul C Sreenivasan that no state minister was allowed to see the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa when she was in the hospital, and that they had lied to the public about seeing her in the hospital, AIADMK imposed a gag order on its ministers to not talk about events related to Jayalalithaa’s days in hospital.

File image of J Jayalalithaa. PTI

File image of J Jayalalithaa. PTI

In his comments, Sreenivasan had said, "We would have told lies that she (Jayalalithaa) had idlis and people met her. The truth is that nobody saw her," adding that even the national leaders used to sit in Apollo Hospital’s chief Pratap Reddy's room along with the AIADMK ministers, reported News18.

Sreenivasan claims were refuted by Tamil Nadu minister Sellur K Raju, and state law minister CV Shanmugham evaded the question asked to him by CNN-News18.

The state forest minister had also claimed that only Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala used to meet her, reported News18. However, Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran said that after 1 October 2016, even Sasikala was not allowed inside Jayalalithaa's room.

Incidentally, Sreenivasan in March this year had given clean chit to Sasikala and her family members saying that there was nothing suspicious about Jayalalithaa’s treatment or death, reported The Times Of India.

Reacting to Sreenivasan’s allegations, Dhinakaran on Monday demanded a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death. Talking on the issue, he said, "Only when there is a CBI probe, can the ministers, who are making contradictory remarks (on meeting Jayalalithaa when she was hospitalised), be questioned."

In the past, Dhinakaran had accused the state government of trying to use "the doubts over Amma's (Jayalalithaa) death" to "divert" the attention from its misgovernance.He had also warned that the Palaniswamy government would be sent home soon.

Palaniswamy and Dhinakaran are engaged in a tussle for power, with the latter accusing the chief minister of "betraying" Sasikala, who had nominated him to the top party post in February, following a revolt by Panneerselvam, reported PTI.

On 22 September 2016, Jayalalithaa was rushed to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital due to illness. During her stay, the government and hospital periodically released information stating that the AIADMK chief was on the road to recovery.

But on 5 December 2016, to the surprise and shock of many of her followers, Jayalalithaa passed away. While the doctors said that Jayalalithaa suffered a massive cardiac arrest, the whispers surrounding the circumstances and nature of her death refused to go away.

On 25 September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government constituted an inquiry commission headed by Justice A Arumughaswamy to look into the circumstances leading up to the death of the former chief minister.

Initiating such a probe was a key pre-condition of former rebel AIADMK leader and now Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam for merging the party faction led by him with the one led by chief minister Palaniswamy. The two factions had merged on 21 August.

However, all doesn't seem well within the newly united AIADMK with former AIADMK MP KC Palanisamy submitting an affidavit before the Election Commission of India stating that an election must be held for the post of the party’s general secretary, reported The Hindu.

Following the unification of the two factions led by chief minister Palaniswamy and his deputy Panneerselvam, a decision was taken at the party’s ‘general council’ to form a new organisational hierarchy sans the post of general secretary.

According to The Times Of India, the latest move seems to be the result of an inner power struggle between Panneerselvam and Palaniswamy.

However, nothing can be said with absolute certainty at this point as The Hindu further reported that some people think that Palanisamy was fighting a battle on Panneerselvam’s behalf to ensure that the latter eventually emerged as general secretary of the AIADMK, others think that the ex-MP’s intention was to draw attention to the neglect that some of those like him were feeling due to the diminished role of Panneerselvam in the reorganised party structure.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Oct 02, 2017 18:41 PM

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