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Two Contrasting Versions Deepen Mystery Surrounding Jayalalithaa's Last Days

Jayalalithaa died in the hospital in December 2016, amid questions fuelled by secrecy and limited access to the 68-year-old.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:June 4, 2018, 3:25 PM IST
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Chennai: J Jayalalithaa’s personal doctor Sivakumar has told the commission probing the former chief minister’s death that he received a phone call from her long-time aide VK Sasikala around 7pm on September 22, 2016, informing that the leader was suffering from cough and fever.

Sivakumar’s statement has added to the mystery surrounding Jayalalithaa’s death as Sasikala made no mention of the phone call in her 99-para affidavit filed before the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission.

In para 28 of her affidavit, Sasikala said she asked Jayalalithaa to visit a hospital as “she looked very tired”. However, the former CM brushed her off, calling it “unnecessary”.

Sasikala added that Jayalalithaa’s fever eventually subsided and Sivakumar came to the Poes Garden residence at around 9pm to see her. The doctor, however, claimed that Jayalalithaa was “quite normal” when he spoke to her in the evening. He said it was around 7pm that Sasikala called him to inform about the former chief minister’s health and he reached her residence at 8.45pm.

Sivakumar also mentioned in his statement that there were two “unknown to him but identifiable” maids present at Jayalalithaa’s residence during his visit.

However, in Sasikala’s detailed description of what transpired inside the former chief minister’s room on the first floor, she made no mention of the maids.

There were also differences in the details of the narratives provided by Sivakumar and Sasikala on what happened just before Jayalalithaa fainted.

Sasikala said, “Around 9.30pm, when I was with Akka on the first-floor room, Jayalalithaa began walking slowly to the bathroom to brush her teeth. After mouth wash, she said from the bathroom: “Sasi, feeling giddy, come here.” I stepped into the bathroom and got Jayalalithaa to walk to her cot, sat her down and sat next to her. Suddenly, she fainted and slid upon my shoulder. At that time, Sivakumar entered the room.”

However, Sivakumar said when he visited the former CM’s residence, she was coughing and running a temperature. He said Jayalalithaa asked him to leave but he stayed back and “called up a person with Apollo to deliver a Nebuliser (used to send oxygen into the lungs)”. Sivakumar said Jayalalithaa went to the bathroom without any assistance but started coughing incessantly as she stepped out and then reeled back on him and Sasikala. “Immediately, I called Preetha Reddy’s (top executive at Apollo) husband Vijaykumar and asked for emergency ambulance service,” he said.

While Sasikala claimed Jayalalithaa regained consciousness in the ambulance and asked where she was, Sivakumar said the former chief minister questioned him about her whereabouts after blood tests, ECG and a few other tests at Apollo.

The two also differed on the presence of bureaucrats outside the ICU ward in the hospital on the night of September 22. Sasikala said Jayalalithaa acknowledged the presence of chief secretary Rama Mohana Rao, adviser Sheela Balakrishnan and other officials, police officers and top Apollo executives with a nod, but Sivakumar said he had no memory of seeing government officials at Apollo.

Jayalalithaa died in the hospital in December 2016, amid questions fuelled by secrecy and limited access to the 68-year-old.

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