Former Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had instructed the state’s chief secretary to issue regular medical bulletins of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s condition after she was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital in September 2016, The News Minute reported on Thursday.
This was necessary to maintain law and order in the state after “wild rumours” about her health started circulating on social media, the news website reported, quoting from Rao’s letter to Pranab Mukherjee, who was the country’s president at the time.
The medical status of Jayalalithaa, who died in December 2016, was shrouded in secrecy as neither the hospital nor the state government issued statements. During her hospital stay, Apollo had denied several media reports of Jayalalithaa’s death that had led to violence on the streets.
Rao visited an ailing Jayalalithaa on October 1, 2016, and wrote a letter to Pranab Mukherjee five days later. “I interacted with the chairman of Apollo Hospitals and the team of doctors attending to the chief minister and ascertained the details of the treatment being given to her and visited the chief minister in the ward where she was being treated,” the former governor wrote. “She was under sedation at that time.”
Rao wrote that social media rumours prompted the police to warn people that rumour-mongers would be arrested under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act. The Central Crime Branch of the Chennai Police even booked an individual residing in France for “allegedly posting comments on a social networking site about the health of the chief minister”, he added.
“I instructed the chief secretary to ensure that the hospital issues regular bulletins about the health of the chief minister and to keep a close watch on the law and order situation in the state,” said the letter.
The former governor said the hospital started issuing regular updates on Jayalalithaa’s health after his instructions. According to a Raj Bhavan statement issued on October 1, the doctors had explained to Rao how Jayalalithaa was being treated. “The governor was happy to note that the Honourable Chief Minister is recovering well,” it said.
An inquiry commission led by Justice A Arumughaswamy, a retired Madras High Court judge, is at present investigating the circumstances around Jayalalithaa’s death. The panel is expected to submit its report on February 24.