Sasikala Counsel Tears Holes into Commission’s Allegations

Sasikala’s counsel questioned the commission on why questions were posed to health secretary and not to AIIMS. 

3 min read
VK Sasikala’s counsel Raja Senthura Pandian.

A week after the standing counsel for the Arumughasamy Commission accused Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and former Chief Secretary Rama Mohan Rao of keeping the cabinet of ministers in the dark over treatment given to Jayalalithaa, documentary evidence has emerged to counter the allegation.

During the cross questioning of Health Secretary at a hearing by the Commission on 4 January, Friday, VK Sasikala's counsel Raja Senthura Pandian revealed that Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan herself had written to the Commission admitting that ministers in the cabinet were regularly briefed by the hospital regarding treatment, making it redundant for the bureaucrats to send in reports.

The Standing Counsel for the Commission locked horns with Apollo Hospitals on 5 January, Saturday, by serving a petition accusing the hospital of colluding with VK Sasikala to not provide Jayalalithaa with the ‘best recommended treatment’.

The current Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan also came under the Standing Counsel's line of fire and he was accused of failing to convey details of the treatment to the cabinet of ministers.

According to the Commission, proper communication could have helped the cabinet take a decision on ferrying her abroad for medical care.

The petition also implicated C Rama Mohana Rao, the former Chief Secretary, of giving false evidence to the Commission regarding the treatment given to the former Chief Minister.

The petition stated that while the former Chief Secretary submitted that he had intimated the details of procedures done on Jayalalithaa to the government, the present Chief Secretary denied receiving any communication regarding that.

"But in October 2018, the Commission has written to the present Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan regarding this. And in the reply that is available with the Commission, dated 29 October and 30 October, the bureaucrat says that the Health Minister, the adviser and personal assistant to the Chief Minister, AIADMK leader Thambidurai and senior minister who came to the hospital were aware of the briefing that was given by the doctors. So, Dr. Radhakrishnan did not have to submit any separate documents. The same applies to Rama Mohan Rao," says advocate Raja Senthura Pandian.

"This is a speaking document and was already in the Commission's possession. Even the judge was shocked to hear what this document said. This shows that the standing counsel's allegations are motivated and without evidence. The advocate has suppressed several material facts before the Commission," he added.

Allegations Politically Motivated, Says Sasikala’s Counsel

Sasikala's counsel argued that similar allegations from senior ministers including Law minister CVE Shanmugam were politically motivated. He said that the Commission's counsel's questions over the failure to airlift Jayalalithaa to a hospital abroad, indicated the same.

“Due to the political situation in the state (upcoming Thiruvarur bypolls) and cases against sitting ministers, they are bringing this up,” says Raja Senthura Pandian.

"They are purposely accusing the centre of not airlifting her. They are trying to give Prime Minister Modi, Venkaiah Naidu, former Governor Vidyasagar Rao and others who visited her a bad name," he adds.

The senior advocate further pointed out that the Commission failed to question the doctors who stated that an angiogram was not required, while they took the Health Secretary who merely signed documents to task.

"On 19 December, Dr Devagourou, from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told the Commission that Jayalalithaa had no serious heart condition and did not require an angiogram. The Commission did not ask him any questions," says the advocate.

"But the next day when the Health Secretary deposed he was asked questions about this. When you don't ask the doctors such questions, why are you asking Dr. Radhakrishnan this? The nature of allegations made by the Commission shouldn't move us away from the truth of what happened."

(The story was first published on The News Minute and it has been republished with permission.)

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