Jayalalithaa served four terms as Chief Minister.
J Jayalalithaa's death in 2016 after being admitted to a top Chennai hospital should be investigated, a former judge has concluded in a lengthy report which slams at least one top government official and VK Sasikala, the close aide of the politician who lived with her.
An inquiry headed by former Madras High Court judge, A Arumughaswamy, was set up in 2017 when Ms Jayalalithaa's party, the AIADMK, governed Tamil Nadu, to sift through conspiracy theories, conflicting accounts of Jayalalithaa's illness and treatment at Apollo Hospital, and legal claims.
When the DMK took charge of the state in 2021, it reiterated its poll promise that it would ensure the situation leading to Ms Jayalalithaa's death was investigated in detail.
Justice A Arumughaswamy's report was presented to the government in August.
The report was shared today in the Tamil Nadu assembly by the government. It says that the top bureaucrat at the time of Ms Jayalalithaa's death, Chief Secretary Dr Rama Mohana Rao, is guilty of criminal actions. The report also makes strong observations against then Health Minister Vijaya Baskar and says Apollo Chairman Dr Pratap Reddy gave false statements on Jayalalithaa's condition.
Last year, Apollo requested the Supreme Court to exempt it from the inquiry, calling the ex judge biased and not competent to handle medical issues. The Supreme Court had even stayed the commission for sometime till it constituted a medical board.
Ms Jayalalithaa, one of Tamil Nadu's most charismatic and powerful politicians, served four terms as Chief Minister. A former actor, she was beloved as Tamil Nadu's "Amma" for AIADMK cadre but allegations of corruption towered over her in the latter half of her career.
Her closest aide, VK Sasikala, lived with her for decades. In 2017, Sasikala was arrested on charges of corruption after Jayalalithaa had died following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa was the prime accused. Sasikala was released from prison in neighbouring Karnataka four years later and an attempt by her to take charge of the AIADMK was thwarted.
Among the witnesses who testified for the committee are AIADMK top leader O Panneerselvam, Ms Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa and nephew Deepak, who said the politician died in mysterious circumstances, and Sasikala, who filed a written statement. Apollo Hospital doctors testified on the treatment that was provided through video conference with specialists at Delhi's AIIMS, who were asked by the Supreme Court to review the matter.
The report naming Sasikala and former minister Vijaya Baskar could help the DMK politically by turning AIADMK supporters against their party and driving them straight to the rival party.