RTI Reveals What TN Governor Told MHA About Jayalalithaa’s Death
A number of conspiracy theories have surfaced following the 75-day long hospitalisation and subsequent death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on 5 December 2016.
Other than the routine press releases from Apollo hospital and a few media interactions by the hospital chairman Prathap Reddy, little information has come forth from others who were privy to the happenings in the hospital, including TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao.
For the first time ever, a report sent by the Governor to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 7 December has been made public by the Ministry of Home Affairs through an RTI reply.
In a query addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs on 12 December, a journalist raised four questions regarding Jayalalithaa’s death.
To the first query, whether the Home Ministry was aware of the time and cause of Jayalalithaa’s death, the MHA provided a copy of a report sent by Governor Vidyasagar Rao to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 7 December.
In the letter, the Governor says, “J Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital on 22 September for treatment for fever and dehydration. Initially she improved and after a week her health condition suddenly deteriorated. Owing to the efforts of doctors for about 50 days, her health condition improved and she was moved out for the multi-disciplinary critical care unit to a private room on 19/11/ 2016 for further treatment.”
“On 4 December, in the evening, while I was at Mumbai I received information that she suffered a cardiac arrest and her health condition had become serious. I immediately rushed to Chennai. I was informed that the CM was immediately given high-end resuscitation and that she was kept on ECMO, a very high grade heart and lung function system. She continued to be in a critical stage and was declared dead on 5 December 2016,” the Governor says in the letter.
In the report, the Governor says that after Jayalalithaa’s death, O Panneerselvam had met him and submitted a letter stating that subsequent to her demise, a meeting of AIADMK legislators was held at the party office. The meeting passed a resolution unanimously making O Panneerselvam the leader of the legislative party.
However, the MHA had earlier refused to release reports filed by the Governor. RTI queries filed in October and November by the same journalist had asked for reports that the Governor submitted to the MHA after his visits to Jayalalithaa on 1 and 22 October.
The MHA admitted that the Governor had submitted Jayalalithaa’s health records, but refused to release them.
“As per section 8 (1)e of the RTI act, 2005, Governor's report is exempted from disclosure on grounds of fiduciary relationship,” the two replies said.