Chennai: Even as the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission is busy probing the hospitalisation and death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a copy of a letter written by then Governor Vidyasagar Rao to then President Pranab Mukherjee on his visit to Apollo Hospital has now come to light.
The letter of October 6, 2016 is causing some excitement in the never-ending controversy over the AIADMK supremo’s final days, since Governor Rao wrote that when he visited Jayalalithaa’s ward in the hospital, he found she was under sedation.
But then, the Raj Bhavan had put out a press release immediately after the Governor’s Apollo visit on October 1 that the doctors at the hospital had briefed him on the treatment being given to the CM and he was happy to note she was recovering well. The Governor “presented a basket of fruits and wished the Chief Minister a speedy recovery,” said the release.
Perhaps one must assume that the Governor left his get-well wishes and the basket of fruits with Sasikala Natarajan, who was then in control of Jaya’s ward and he did not directly interact with the ailing CM. It is also quite possible that with all sorts of rumours floating around in social media and at the tea-shop discourses on Jaya’s health, there were serious law and order concerns among the state administrators and extra caution was taken to maintain the ‘Amma is doing fine’ façade to keep the public/cadre emotions under control.
Rao was the Governor of Maharashtra with additional charge of Tamil Nadu. In his letter to Pranab, he stated that he flew from Mumbai following Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation. “Considering the situation, I came to Chennai on 01.10.2016 in the evening and immediately visited Apollo Hospital. I interacted with the chairman of Apollo Hospitals and the team of doctors attending to the Chief Minister and ascertained the details of the treatment being given to her and visited the Chief Minister in the ward where she was being treated. She was under sedation at that time,” wrote the Governor.
He also recalled that the specialists from AIIMS had visited Apollo to provide expert guidance and the sepsis and cardio-respiratory expert Dr Richard Beale from the UK was also there and he endorsed the treatment.
In his letter to President, Rao said he had instructed the chief secretary to ensure that bulletins on CM’s health were regularly put out as wild rumours on social media were causing confusion. After that, Apollo began to issue the bulletins.
“Wild rumours started flowing especially through social media prompting the police to issue a warning of serious action on rumour mongers under relevant sections of the IPC and the IT Act. On 30.09.2016, the Central Crime Branch of Chennai Police booked a case against one Tamizhachi, residing in France, for allegedly posting comments on a social networking site about the health of the Chief Minister”, wrote the Governor in his letter.
Jayalalithaa was admitted in Apollo Hospital on September 22, 2016 and the hospital statement had then claimed she was brought for fever and dehydration. When she died on December 5, the hospital said the death was due to cardiac arrest.
With doubts persisting about Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death-even to the extent of senior AIADMK leaders, including O. Panneerselvam, casting serious aspersions about Sasikala - Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami constituted the Justice A. Arumughaswamy commission on September 25, 2017 to probe the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation and the treatment provided....