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All CCTV Cameras Were Switched Off During Jayalalithaa's 75-Day Hospital Stay, Says Apollo Chief

A screengrab from a video released by Sasikala camp showing late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai's Apollo Hospital. (File photo)

A screengrab from a video released by Sasikala camp showing late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai's Apollo Hospital. (File photo)

Jayalalithaa died in Chennai's Apollo hospital in December 2016, amid questions fueled by the secrecy and limited access to the 68-year-old.

New Delhi: Days after VK Sasikala, the longtime aide of J Jayalalithaa, told an inquiry panel about the late AIADMK leader being videographed during her last days at Chennai's Apollo hospital, its chairman Dr Prathap Reddy on Thursday gave an account that contradicts her version.

In an affidavit filed before the Justice A. Arumughaswamy Commission, probing Jayalalithaa’s death, Sasikala said she made videos of Jayalalithaa with her permission as it was part of the leader’s efforts to document her health. She said four video clips shot at Apollo Hospitals have also been submitted to the Commission.

In a contrasting claim, Apollo Chairman said that the closed circuit television cameras were switched off during the entire duration of Jayalalithaa’s 75-day stay at the hospital. He also said the 24-bed intensive care unit was emptied and she was the only patient there.

"Unfortunately they (CCTVs) were switched off. Jayalalithaa got admitted and one ICU was completely occupied only by her. So they removed the footage because they did not want everyone to be watching," said Prathap C Reddy, Founder-Chairman of Apollo Hospitals.

Responding to allegations that no one was allowed to meet Jayalalithaa during her long hospitalisation between September 22 and December 5, Sasikala told the commission that former Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had met her on October 22, 2016. AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and M Thambi Durai and Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar saw her sometime during September 22-27, 2016. However, both Panneerselvam and Thambidurai have said they were denied access to Jayalalithaa in her three months in hospital.

"We didn't go (to her room) out of good intention that she should not contract infection. We wanted her to return in good health... they (Sasikala) would come out and tell Amma is doing well, eating. We could only say okay...thank you.. We were in grief that Amma was ill," Panneerselvam had told press at the time.

Jayalalithaa died in Chennai's Apollo hospital in December 2016, amid questions fueled by the secrecy and limited access to the 68-year-old.

first published:March 22, 2018, 17:36 IST