Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswami said on Thursday that a judicial probe will be conducted into the death of former CM J Jayalalithaa, who had died in a Chennai hospital on December 5 after a prolonged illness.
Flanked by senior cabinet colleagues, finance minister D Jayakumar, forest minister Dindigul C Srinivasan and power minister P Thangamani, Palaniswami told reporters that the Commission of Inquiry will be set up and headed by a retired judge of the Madras High Court. He said the name of the judge will be announced later.
Palaniswami also said that Jayalalithaa's Veda Nilayam bungalow in Poes Garden will be converted into a government memorial and will be throw open to the public soon.
The judicial probe as well as the memorial were conditions laid down by Jaya loyalist and former CM O Paneerselvam for a merger between the two warring factions of the AIADMK. By clearing these two demands, EPS has thrown the ball into OPS’s court. The only OPS camp demand now left is the expulsion of VK Sasikala’s family from the party.
The two rival factions have been trying to accelerate their plans to reunite over the past few days. Last week, the two leaders came together to attend the oath taking ceremony of Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.
The EPS camp had also passed a resolution rejecting the appointment of TTV Dinakaran as the ruling party’s general secretary in an attempt to sideline Sasikala. Sasikala, who is currently serving a sentence in a corruption case, had handed over reins of the party to nephew Dinakaran just after her conviction.
Panneerselvam has been demanding a CBI probe into the “mysterious death” of Jaya, or Amma to millions. OPS has long maintained that he or his supporters were not allowed to see Jayalalithaa in the hospital though they had stayed put at the hospital all along the 75-day stay. The Sasikala camp did not even listen to suggestions that Jayalalithaa should be taken to the UK or the US for treatment, OPS had claimed.
He had also rejected the treatment summary released by the state government in March, which said that the team of doctors had battled in vain to save Jayalalithaa, but she had died of cardiac arrest.
Ever since her death, there have been allegations of foul play. Fingers have been pointed at Sasikala, who was a close aide of the late CM and who lived with Jayalalithaa.
After Jaya’s death, then interim CM Panneerselvam had ordered an investigation, a move to dent Sasikala, who sacked him as party treasurer for questioning her elevation to the state’s top job.
The conspiracies surrounding her death include that she was poisoned, or may even have been pushed at her home in September 22 last year, after which remained admitted in the hospital. Doctors though have maintained that the death was caused by a sudden cardiac arrest.