A one man inquiry commission probing the death of J Jayalalithaa today issued summons to her close aide V K Sasikala and Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy seeking information about the hospitalisation and treatment provided to the late Tamil Nadu chief minister.
The summons issued to Sasikala, now serving a four-year jail term in a Bengaluru prison in a corruption case, seeks within 15 days information known to her and evidence in respect of Jayalalithaa's admission to the hospital and medical treatment provided till her demise last year.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai on September 22 and died on December 5 last year. The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission, probing the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and her death, issued the summons to Sasikala through the Parapana Agrahara Prison Superintendent in Bengaluru by e-mail and speed post, commission sources said.
Sasikala could furnish the evidence and information through an advocate, may file an affidavit or might appear in person according to her choice, sources told news agency PTI.
Incidentally, the commission issued the summons two days after a video footage purportedly showing Jayalalithaa in a hospital was released by P Vetrivel, a loyalist of Sasikala's nephew and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.
Mr Vetrivel had claimed that the video was taken by Sasikala at the request of Jayalalithaa and he released it in view of doubts being raised over the death.
The commission has filed a complaint with police seeking action against Mr Vetrivel for releasing the video with the 'intention' to "degrade" it and to create law and order problems.
The panel also issued summons to the hospital Executive Vice Chairperson Preetha Reddy, daughter of Prathap Reddy.
Summons to the two have been delivered in person and they have been asked to respond within 10 days, the sources said.
The summons to Mr Reddy also has reference to his recent press briefing wherein he had spoken about Jayalalithaa's health condition during admission and thereafter.
Mr Reddy and his daughter could appear in person or through an advocate. The summons to them too asks them to provide information and evidence in respect of Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and death.
The state government on September 25 last constituted the probe panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, naming retired Madras High Court Judge A Arumughaswamy as its head.
The panel was set up in the backdrop of suspicions raised by several persons, including former rebel AIADMK leader and now deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and his followers, regarding the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's death.
The sources also said the tenure of the commission, which is set to expire on December 24, is likely to be extended for a further period of three or six months.
The panel's terms of reference are to inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa and treatment provided till her demise.
So far, summons have been issued to a number of persons, including government doctors and Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa.
Also, then state Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao, Ms Deepa's husband Madhavan, her brother Deepak besides DMK functionary P Saravanan, a doctor, were summoned and all of them had deposed before the commission, which started its hearing on November 22.
Sources said the commission had received 120 petitions and 28 affidavits related to Jayalalithaa's death.
About 300 complaints submitted to Teynampet police station (under which Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence falls) by various persons in this regard had also been transferred to the panel, they said.
The commission had invited all those having "personal knowledge and direct acquaintance" in the matter to furnish information to it.
Mr Panneerselvam and his followers, who revolted against Sasikala and her family in February last, had demanded either a judicial or CBI probe into Jayalalithaa's death.
It was a key precondition made by them for the merger of their faction with the one led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, which took place in August.