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Cabinet Meet Did Not Discuss Treatment Abroad for Jayalalitha, Minister Vijayabaskar Tells Panel

Vijayabaskar, who was both examined and cross examined Monday, said he had seen Jayalalithaa at close quarters when she was wheeled away for the tracheostomy procedure on October 7, 2016 at Apollo Hospital.

PTI

Updated:January 21, 2019, 10:45 PM IST
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Cabinet Meet Did Not Discuss Treatment Abroad for Jayalalitha, Minister Vijayabaskar Tells Panel
Supporters with portrait of J Jayalalithaa (File photo)

Chennai: A cabinet meeting in 2016 during the hospitalisation of late J Jayalalithaa did not discuss shifting her abroad for treatment, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar deposed on Monday before a panel looking into her death.

Briefing reporters about the deposition of Vijayabaskar before the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry here, counsel for VK Sasikala, N Raja Senthoor Pandian said that the Minister made this submission related to foreign treatment during cross-examination.

Asked whether any minister at the October 19, 2016 cabinet meeting had spoken about shifting Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment, the Health Minister replied that such a topic did not come up for discussion, the counsel said.

One of the questions that came up in the proceedings before the Commission was whether treatment for Jayalalithaa at a hospital abroad was considered or not.

"Vijayabaskar replied that such a topic (on shifting her abroad for treatment) did not come up at the Cabinet meeting and there was no circumstances to warrant such a discussion," Pandian said.

Vijayabaskar, who was both examined and cross examined Monday, said he had seen Jayalalithaa at close quarters when she was wheeled away for the tracheostomy procedure on October 7, 2016 at Apollo Hospital, according to Pandian.

On a Apollo doctor's statement to the Commission that Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had seen Jayalalithaa on October 7, 2016 at the hospital, the Minister replied that the doctor's deposition would be correct, he said.

In the past, Ministers like Dindigul C Sreenivasan had said that they had no access to see the late leader during her 75-day hospitalisation.

The Minister's answers were also consistent with that of Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan's depositions on all aspects, including foreign treatment, Sasikala's counsel said.

A counsel for the Commission had alleged in December 2018 that Radhakrishnan colluded and conspired with Apollo Hospital and "inappropriate treatment" was provided to the late leader.

The panel counsel had also alleged that the senior health official was against taking Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment.

Both the hospital and the secretary had strongly refuted the allegations.

Vijayabaskar, in his brief remarks, told reporters that he extended his full cooperation to the Commission and answered all questions posed to him.

In September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government had constituted the Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.

The panel's terms of reference was to inquire into the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa on September 22, 2016, and treatment provided by the hospital till her death on December 5, 2016

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