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Jaya's death: Probe Radhakrishnan's background, says minister

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Press Trust of India Chennai
In a fresh development in the mystery surrounding former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death, Tamil Nadu Law minister C V Shanmugam Monday said she would have been alive had proper treatment been given to her during the leader's 75-day hospitalisation in 2016.
Shanmugam wanted the state government to investigate the background of health secretary J Radhakrishnan, who, he alleged, was against taking former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, abroad for treatment.
The minister's statement comes in the wake of the standing counsel for a Commission of Inquiry probing the death of Jayalalithaa alleging that Radhakrishnan "colluded and conspired" with Apollo Hospitals and "inappropriate treatment" was provided to her.
Also, the commission's counsel has alleged that the then chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, at the time of Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation in 2016, had "purposely given false evidence", sources said.
The standing counsel for the Justice A Arumughaswamy commision, Mohammed Jafarullah Khan, in a petition before the panel has sought to implead Radhakrishnan and Rao as respondents.
The counsel's plea alleges that the health secretary made contradictory statements before the panel and the official was also against taking Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment.
The allegations have been strongly refuted by both the health secretary and the hospital, while the former chief secretary said he was not aware of the petition.
Alleging conspiracy and role of V K Sasikala's (close aide of Jayalalithaa) family in the death, the law minister claimed that despite insistence that Angiogram and treatment be done abroad, they were denied to the late AIADMK supremo.
Speaking to reporters at Villupuram, Shanmugam alleged that Radhakrishnan was against taking Jayalalithaa abroad for treatment to ensure that reputation of Indian doctors was not damaged.
"Several times there were suggestions to take Amma abroad for treatment. Doctors have said this. Central government also offered air-helicopter ambulance. All these were denied," he claimed.
"Saving a patient's life is important than protecting the reputation of doctors....This government must probe his (Radhakrishnan) background," he said and demanded that the probe cover Rao also.
Claiming that Angiogram was not done on the former chief minister, Shanmugam said, "Today Angiogram has become a common treatment...Who ignored Angiogram treatment?" he said.
"Amma would have been alive had she been given proper treatment during her 75-day-hospitalisation," he added.
Referring to a whopping Rs 1.17 crore spent on 'food and beverage services' in Apollo Hospital during the treatment period, Shanmugam said "no one (ministers or MPs) was allowed to see the former CM.
How did it cost so much? Sasikala family, which was rejected by Amma, stayed there and that is how such expenses have incurred. Why did they stay there? This is where mystery lies," Shanmugam said.
Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016 after being treated in the hospital for 75 days from September 22, 2016 for various ailments.
Shanmugam claimed that "shocking" information was submitted Monday to the commission. However, he did not elaborate.
On December 29, a petition was filed before the commission by its counsel, raising serious medical issues regarding her treatment at the Apollo Hospitals.
The hospital had however strongly refuted the allegations against it raised in the petition.
Commission sources told PTI that the plea filed by the standing counsel sought to implead Radhakrishnan and Rao over their statements and depositions.
When contacted, Radhakrishnan had dismissed the allegations levelled against him as"unfounded, baseless and wild" and said that he had, so far, not been served a copy of the petition filed by the commission's counsel.
The allegation that he "conspired and colluded" with Apollo Hospital and acted like its spokesperson was "not only false, but also slanderous", the top official said.
"Whether to take her or not to a foreign destination for treatment was purely a medical decision for which it would not be correct to hold an official like him responsible," he had said.

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First Published: Dec 31 2018 | 11:20 PM IST

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