Report on Jayalalithaa death within month, probe panel tells SC

The Commission of Inquiry probing the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it has examined 154 witnesses so far and only four witnesses are remaining, and it will be able to submit a report within a month in the matter.

The top court on April 26, 2019, had stayed the commission’s proceedings on a plea by Apollo Hospital questioning the scope of inquiry. In September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government had set up the commission headed by Justice A. Arumughaswamy (retd).

A bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari, dealing with the application by the Tamil Nadu government seeking it vacate the stay on the proceedings of the commission, agreed to hear the case next Thursday.

Counsel appearing for the commission submitted it has examined over 154 witnesses and only four witnesses remain, and it will be in a position to submit its report within a month. The 154 witnesses, included 56 doctors attached to Apollo hospital, five doctors from AIIMS, 12 government doctors including the medical board of five doctors constituted by the Tamil Nadu government, 22 paramedical staff and other witnesses.

The commission is probing the circumstances leading to the former chief minister’s hospitalisation at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital, and the 75 days of treatment, which culminated in her death on December 5, 2016.

The Tamil Nadu government counsel urged the bench to hear its submissions, at the earliest, in connection with the application to vacate the stay and allow the commission to complete the probe.

The state government in its application claimed that it would be in the interest of justice if the commission is permitted to conclude its reference and submit a final report to the government.