Chennai: Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday claimed that he had asked Apollo Hospital officials if late CM Jayalalithaa could be airlifted and flown to the US for treatment. The hospital had rejected the possibility while rather assured OPS of her recovery.
The revelation came at a protest rally organised by the AIADMK against opposition parties DMK and Congress, where the deputy CM also disclosed that he wasn’t allowed to visit the late party supremo during her hospitalisation.
“You speak as if you don’t trust us,” the hospital officials allegedly told the Deputy CM when he urged them to airlift Jayalalithaa to the US.
While trying to persuade the hospital to consider his request, Panneerselvam even told officials that if ‘Amma’ dies at the hospital, AIADMK cadres would attack and create a ruckus at the hospital. However, even this threat didn’t help, he said.
“I was only hoping to scare them when I said it because if Amma had recovered and returned to Poes Garden, it would all be fine,” he added.
On September 22, 2016, Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Chennai as she was suffering from septicaemia and acute dehydration. Her official duties were handed over to Panneerselvam on October 12, 2016. The AIADMK stalwart breathed her last on December 4.
Holding the hospital responsible for stopping him from meeting Jayalalithaa, the deputy CM said that during the 74 days of her hospitalisation, he was not allowed to meet the ailing leader even once.
“When people ask me if I could have saved Amma as I worked under her leadership for 32 years, I ask them, was I allowed to even see her? I went to Apollo every morning and sat there till the end of the day. My wife used to ask me every day if I was able to meet Amma. I always replied with a ‘no’. She even asked me why was I spending the whole day at the hospital when they refused to let me in,” Panneerselvam said.
In February 2017, just when VK Sasikala was all set to become the chief minister, doctors who treated Jayalalithaa, including Dr Richard Beale, a UK-based intensivist addressed the media to dispel rumours surrounding Amma’s death.
When asked if they considered airlifting Jayalalithaa, Dr Beale said, “The issue of transferring the patient was discussed, but in such cases, risky factors are always in play.”
However, later it emerged that she herself did not wish to move out of the country for treatment. It was a matter of her choice, the doctor claimed.
Panneerselvam had revolted against Sasikala’s leadership and demanded a CBI probe on Jayalalithaa’s death.
An inquiry committee headed by a retired high court judge is probing the case since September 2017