The Apollo Hospital in Chennai has told a panel investigating former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death that CCTV cameras in its corridors were switched off during her movements inside the premises on the police’s instructions, PTI reported on Saturday. The affidavit was submitted on Friday.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital with severe dehydration on September 22, 2016. She died of cardiac arrest on December 5. The Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission was set up in September 2017 to inquire into the circumstances leading to her hospitalisation and the treatment provided to her till her death.
The hospital’s legal manager SM Mohan Kumar told the panel that there are no CCTV cameras in treatment rooms in keeping with international practices. The cameras, however, cover well positioned spots such as corridors and entrances, the hospital’s counsel Maimoona Badsha said, quoting from the affidavit.
“Whenever the late chief minister was taken out of her room for diagnostic tests like a scan within the hospital, the cameras covering those particular pathways were switched off,” Badsha told PTI. Senior police officials, including Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) KN Sathiyamurthy, had issued the instructions, she added. The cameras used to be switched on once the chief minister was back in her room.
Last month, the hospital said the CCTV data has been overwritten as its servers store data for only a month.
The hospital also said in the affidavit that Jayalalithaa was involved in drafting the first press release on September 23, 2016, as she was reportedly concerned that the news of her hospitalisation would create panic. After her health deteriorated, the press notes were sent to then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao and Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan for approval.
On Friday, Ramesh Chand Meena – the government secretary to former Governor Ch Vidya Sagar Rao – and Apollo Hospital’s Subbiah Viswanathan appeared before the commission. They were cross-examined by Raja Senthoor Pandian, who is the counsel for Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala.