Free Press Journal

Tamil Nadu government to probe Jayalalithaa’s death by ex-judge


(FILES) This file photo taken on May 23, 2016 shows Jayalalithaa Jayaram, leader of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), taking part in a swearing-in ceremony as chief minister of Tamil Nadu state in Chennai. Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the chief minister of south India's Tamil Nadu state and one of the country's most popular political leaders, died after a prolonged illness, hospital authorities announced late December 5, 2016 night. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR

Chennai: Months after denying that there was any mystery in former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced that it would soon appoint a retired High Court judge to probe the matter. This was one of the main conditions put forward by the AIADMK faction led by O. Panneerselvam for the merger of the two factions.

The move comes after beleaguered AIADMK leader T.T.K. Dinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK chief V.K. Sasikala, held a show of strength rally in Madurai earlier this week in which 20 party and Independent legislators participated.

Also Read: No conspiracy, mystery in Jayalalithaa’s death: British doctor

Chief minister E.K. Palaniswami had removed Dinakaran from the post of deputy general-secretary of AIADMK earlier this month. Sasikala is serving a prison term in a disproportionate assets case in which late chief minister Jayalalithaa was the main accused.

On Thursday, Palaniswami also announced that the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, Veda Nilayam, will be turned into a museum. There was speculation whether the posh property would go to Sasikala.

Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa, has opposed the government’s move. “The property was purchased by my grandmother Sandhya and aunt jointly. They have a responsibility to consult us,” she said.

The other precondition that the Panneerselvam-led Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction set for talks included removal of jailed AIADMK chief V.K. Sasikala and

her family members from the party.