Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where she eventually died on December 5, 2016, after 75 days of treatment. Here are some of the revelations made in the Jayalalithaa report on the death probe, which was submitted in the Tamil Nadu assembly this week.
Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016. (File photo/AFP)
By Adarsh TR: The Arumughaswamy Justice Commission, established to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa, has revealed many aspects about the ex-AIADMK chief. Her conversation with a doctor about Mao and leadership and her assistant Sasikala’s version of what happened in 2016 are among the stories vividly described in the report. The report takes on significance because Jayalalithaa’s 75-day hospital stay was shrouded in mystery that led to several conspiracy theories about her death.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where she eventually died on December 5, 2016, after 75 days of treatment. In the investigative report, the Justice Arumughaswamy commission pointed out some shortcomings, including not taking it abroad for treatment despite the recommendation of experts. Jayalalithaa had a perforation in her heart and experts from AIIMS and Dr. Richard Beale from the UK had recommended an angiogram and treatment abroad.
Here are some other revelations in the report on the death of Jayalalithaa, which was submitted this week in the Tamil Nadu assembly.
‘SASI, I feel dizzy’
VK Sasikala, a close associate who was expelled from the party shortly after Jayalalithaa’s death, referred to the former prime minister as “Akka”, meaning sister in Tamil, in a written statement she submitted to the Justice Commission Arumughaswamy. According to her, Jayalalithaa’s conviction in a case of disproportionate power caused her severe mental stress and led to many ailments shortly after the 2016 state election, in which AIADMK took a landslide victory. The report then lists the events before her hospitalization.
“As of 2016 Akka [Jayalalithaa] started getting blisters, itching, and psoriasis in many parts of her body. Akka went about her daily government work with great difficulty. She [doctors] decided to give small doses of steroids for a short period of time. There was relief from skin problems. Doctors had gradually reduced the dosage of steroids,” Sasikala wrote in her statement.
Sasikala further described how Jayalalithaa developed a high fever and returned to her hometown after an official program on September 21, 2016. The next day, Sasikala advised Jayalalithaa to go to a hospital after seeing her Akka tired. But Jayalalithaa refused.
Sasi I’m getting dizzy, come here. I immediately went to the bathroom and picked up Akka and brought her on the bed and I sat down next to her. Suddenly, Akka leaned on my shoulder in a weak state.
DEVOTIONAL SONGS, DEITIONS, GREEN PLANTS
During her 75-day hospital stay, Jayalalithaa enjoyed devotional songs and had images of her favorite gods and green plants nearby. The former CM also interacted with government officials and held meetings about the Cauvery River dispute, including during the early days of her hospitalization. She also made it a point to tell the hospital guards that she would be discharged soon.
Sasikala shared some excerpts in her statement about the times when Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital ward for treatment, long before she developed serious health complications. According to Sasikala, one of Jayalalithaa’s assistants put her favorite devotional songs on a USB stick and gave them to the AIADMK leader. She listened to them as she recovered from multiple illnesses.
There were color prints of the images of Jayalalithaa’s favorite gods pasted next to her bed and on walls for her to see. Plastic plants were placed near Jayalalithaa’s room so that the greenery would be ‘a sight to behold’.
MAO AND LEADERSHIP
Jayalalithaa advised a doctor who treated her to read the book “Private Life of Chairman Mao”. The former prime minister told the doctor it would teach leadership skills and advised him to read the same. The book, which examines the life of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, has been banned in China.
As Jayalalithaa developed more health complications over the next few months, she underwent a tracheostomy. After 10 days of the procedure, she asked the doctors to remove the food tube as it was causing severe discomfort. According to Sasikala, small amounts of items such as idli, pongal and vada from the kitchen of the Apollo hospital were given under medical supervision, at the request of Akka.
JAYALALITHAA’S LAST MOMENTS
“One of the doctors asked me loudly to say Akka by her ears, and I started screaming. She saw me twice. Then Akka closed her eyes. The doctors who treated Akka said she had a sudden heart attack and asked me for” Go outside immediately. I screamed in agony and passed out,” Sasikala Jayalalithaa described in the report’s final moments. It all started on December 4 when the AIADMK leader suffered a health problem.
When Sasikala tried to take a food cart near Jayalalithaa that day, the former prime minister experienced tremors.
“Akka’s tongue stuck out and Akka yelled something as she gritted her teeth. As soon as I started yelling ‘Akka, Akka’ she looked at me and raised both her arms towards me. As I screamed, I jumped and caught Akka. Akka looked at me and leaned on the bed. The doctors and nurses started treating in a hurry,” recalls Sasikala.
When a doctor told her that the chief of the AIADMK had suffered a cardiac arrest, Sasikala passed out. Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016 at 11:30 PM.