Tamil Nadu orders probe into J Jayalalithaa's death

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami

Jayalalithaa, referred to across party lines as Amma - had died on December 5 a year ago at Apollo hospital in Chennai after a prolonged illness and ever since, there have been speculations about foul play in the death with fingers often being pointed at Sasikala.

The announcements by Palaniswami on Thursday - ordering a judicial inquiry into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and converting her Poes Garden residence into a memorial - are seen as signs of anxiety to speed up the merger with the O Panneerselvam faction.

On the inquiry, he told PTI that they had actually demanded a CBI probe, though it was the chief minister's view to have a Commission of Inquiry. The commission will be constituted under a retired judge.

Chennai: DMK working president M K Stalin has assigned select leaders in his party to pull over disgruntled MLAs, especially those who have aligned with AIADMK-Amma deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran for a possible coup, party insiders have confirmed.

There is still no word on another pre-condition that the OPS-led Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction had put forth before Palanisami for a truce and merger of the two rival camps - that Sasikala and her family members - known within the AIADMK circles as the Mannargudi Mafia - be expelled from the party.

However, the Sasikala camp criticized Panneerselvam's demand, pointing out the he was chief minister during Jayalalithaa's hospitalization and would be among the first to be questioned in a probe. Palaniswami in his statement said that a committee will be set up under the leadership of a retired judge to investigate the mysterious death of J Jayalalithaa.

The former CM further claimed that VK Sasikala and people associated with her had not accepted his suggestion of taking Jayalalithaa to the United Kingdom for treatment.

Panneerselvam loyalist and former Minister K.P. Munusamy welcomed the decision to make Poes Garden residence a memorial. "Only I have the responsibility to take to the people her life and legacy", she said.

It was in Apollo Hospital here Jayalalithaa was hospitalised for over 70 days.

Since Jayalalithaa's death, there have been suspicions of foul play.

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