Tamil Nadu minister Dindigul Srinivasan on Friday claimed that leaders of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had lied about former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s health before she died in December last year, PTI reported on Saturday.

He said AIADMK leaders had misled the public into believing that her health was improving because they feared VK Sasikala, the party’s now ousted secretary general who is in jail in a disproportionate assets case.

“Nobody saw Amma eating idli or drinking tea or chatting...all are lies,” Srinivasan said. “We were afraid of Sasikala at that time and lied about Jayalalithaa’s health condition...It is very common that sisters who fight inside the house will appear to be friendly outside. We did not want the secret of the party to get leaked...that is why we lied.”

At a public meeting in Madurai, Srinivasan also apologised to party workers and the public for lying about Jayalalithaa’s health, saying the situation in the state had forced him to speak the truth now.

Srinivasan claimed that no one, including himself, was allowed to see Jayalalithaa when she was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital in September last year.

On August 17, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had announced that an inquiry commission would investigate Jayalalithaa’s death. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had also pressed for a judicial inquiry.

Palaniswami’s faction of the AIADMK had expelled Sasikala as the party’s interim general secretary on September 12 and announced Jayalalithaa as the “eternal general secretary”.

Sasikala was made the interim general secretary only because the circumstances then had called for it, Srinivasan said on Friday.