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The Hindu
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

Had discussed possibility of shifting Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment, says OPS

Former Chief Minister and AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam on Monday said he had raised the issue of shifting the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment [in 2016] with the then Health Minister C. Vijayabhaskar and Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani, and Apollo Hospitals’ founder-chairman Pratap C. Reddy’s son-in-law Vijayakumar Reddy.

Deposing before the [retired] Justice Arumughaswamy Commission, probing Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death, Mr. Panneerselvam said he had suggested sending Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment citing the examples of former Chief Ministers Annadurai and M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) . The AIADMK leader said Mr. Vijayabhaskar told him that he would discuss with Apollo Hospitals about such a possibility and that Mr. Vijayakumar Reddy informed him that there was improvement in Jayalalithaa’s health and that she could be discharged in a week.

However Mr. Panneerselvam at whose insistence the previous AIADMK government set up the Commission, appeared before the Commission after eight summons, and claimed ignorance in response to a large number of questions posed by the Commission. Mr. Panneerselvam told the Commission that he was not aware as to why Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on the night of September 22, 2016, as he was in his native place and that when he came to know about her hospitalisation, he immediately rushed to Apollo Hospitals by afternoon the next day and got the details from the Chief Secretary.

He further said the last time he had met Jayalalithaa was during the Metro Rail inauguration, a day prior to her hospitalisation. He was unaware of any health issues faced by the former Chief Minister except that she was diabetic.

Mr. Panneerselvam said he had sought the setting up of the Commission “on the basis of questions in the minds of people about Jayalalithaa’s death”. He also said he had no role in the removal of the CCTV cameras on the Apollo Hospitals premises.

He said all the statements given by him from the time of his ‘Dharma Yudham’ [rebellion against Jayalalithaa’s close aide V. K. Sasikala after resigning as Chief Minister] till the time of his becoming the Deputy Chief Minister were right.

When asked if he was aware of a couple of doctors from the U.S. invited by Ms. Sasikala for consultations on Jayalalithaa’s treatment, he said he did not know about that. Mr. Panneerselvam will depose again on Tuesday

Earlier, Ms. Sasikala’s sister-in-law, J. Ilavarasi deposed before the Commission and said she did not meet Jayalalithaa at the hospital and had only seen her through the glass partition of the room where she was admitted.

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