One of the doctors of Apollo Hospital Monday told a panel probing the death of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa that an audio clip released months ago was indeed recorded at the hospital when she was treated there. Dr Archana said she corroborated the audio clip recorded by Dr Sivakumar, Jayalalithaa's physician, based on the wish of the former Chief Minister,N Raja Senthoor Pandian, counsel for V K Sasikala, the late leader's aide, said.
Speaking to reporters, Pandian said Dr. Archana deposed during cross-examination that the recording was done at the hospital on September 27, 2016 evening when the late leader had breathing difficulty. A recording of Jayalalithaa's voice (her last known voice recording), telling a doctor that her blood pressure of 140/80 was normal for her, was made available to the media by the commission in May this year.
Dr Snehasri, an emergency doctor deposed that when she went to the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa on September 22, 2016, the late leader was drowsy, but conscious. This doctor deposed that when Jayalalithaa was given the IV line on one hand, she tried to prevent it by using her other hand, since it was painful, the counsel said.
The two doctors were among nine people, including nurses and a technician of the Apollo Hospital,who deposed before the panel for cross-examination. Pandian replied in the affirmative when asked if Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who held the portfolios of Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation, health Minister C Vijayabaskar and the Health Secretary would be cross-examined. The counsel said he expected the panel to first summon them as its witnesses.
If it did not do so, his side would require their appearance, he said. On Sept 6, the Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry had warned the Apollo Hospital of legal consequences if it failed to depute its doctors to appear before the panel. Jayalalithaa had passed away on December 5, 2016 after being treated in the hospital for 75 days from Sept 22, 2016 for various ailments.
In September 2017, the state government had constituted the probe panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, mandating it to inquire into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's hospitalization on September 22, 2016, and treatment provided by the hospital till her demise.
The commission, whose term has been twice extended since then, had invited all those having "personal knowledge and direct acquaintance" to furnish information related to her. Several persons, including present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his followers, had earlier raised suspicions about the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's death.