From TSV Hari
Southern Features & News Service Exclusive
Chennai, January 13 [SFNS]: Tamil Nadu’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [AIADMK] regime is in serious trouble. Emerging newer and hitherto unknown aspects of the ‘sudden death’ of the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa have cast a vain shadow on the machinations of the sinister General Secretary on probation VK Sasikala and her behind-the-scenes-string-puller husband Natarajan.
The Madras High Court has demanded details of the treatment accorded to Jayalalithaa in her final days.
Suspicions of foul-play in Jaya’s ‘unexplained’ death after 75 days’ ‘intense treatment’ at Apollo Hospital have surfaced. They could lead to a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, top sources said.
This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court dismissed petitions for a CBI inquiry demanded by AIADMK dissident MP – also named Sasikala.
Sources close to Apollo boss Pratap C Reddy revealed that he is mulling the institution’s washing its hands off the imbroglio in his written deposition to the court.
Jayalalithaa’s health was on the mend as is evident from our health bulletins. She could have left whenever she wanted to. Following this development, doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences [AIIMS] and Dr Beale returned to Delhi and London respectively. What exactly took place during the last 2 days due to the activities of those who controlled the access to the CM is unknown. Police officials had kept all visitors – including the Governor and central ministers at bay earlier. Towards the end, even most of the doctors’ entry was delayed under some pretext or other. The alarm bells were pressed only when it was too late. The confusion over the time of death of the late CM, the leak of info, its denial and late-night confirmation of her passing are all indicative of the above aspects. Hence, accusing the hospital of foul play is out of the question. These are said to be sentences that could form the crux of Apollo’s sealed court deposition, top sources told SFNS.
Two days prior to the fatal worsening of Jaya’s health, Natarajan is said to have been given legal advice that if the CM died, the appeal pending in the Apex Court against the exoneration of Jaya, Sasikala and others could be rendered legally untenable.
“It was Natarajan’s idea was that Sasikala would go scot-free and rule Tamil Nadu as its next CM. Close relatives of the husband-wife duo could jockey themselves into positions of power. On that basis – preparations to get her sworn in were underway. The sudden application of brakes in the progress of the Mannargudi Mafia’s juggernaut is also due to other serious allegations against it. Apollo’s attempts to wriggle out of the tricky situation lend logic to the charges when juxtaposed to the health bulletins and the unprecedented denial of entry to VVIPs – which includes the constitutional head and acting governor CH Vidyasagar Rao," a senior cop wishing anonymity said.
The ramifications of the above have raised too many eyebrows in New Delhi’s power-brokers’ cocktail circuit, sources said. In turn, it is said to have led to the ‘indefinite postponement’ of Sasikala’s elevation to the CM’s post. The earlier rumoured date was 12th January 2017.
The continuance of Sasikala in Jaya’s posh Poes Garden residence sans a publicly declared will of the late CM have worsened the sinking feelings growing deeper in the Natarajan camp by the hour. The clamour for making Sasikala CM has slowed. Plan B to position Sasikala as the Sonia Gandhi of AIADMK is underway, informed sources told SFNS.
On a state-wide basis, posters featuring Sasikala as the ‘saviour’ are getting ripped incessantly.
Senior journalists in Chennai are nonplussed over the sheer brazenness of Sasikala. 
The causes for what seems like the impending fall of the AIADMK regime are given hereunder after consulting legal brains. The confusing legalese has been left out.
Sasikala’s continuing to reside in ‘Veda Nilayam’ is the deadliest of the giveaways.
Wills and/or testaments and/or covenants authored by Jayalalithaa are yet to be read out.
Before long someone could question under what authority is her former aide lording it over the late CM’s residence.
“Unless Sasikala has some documentation she would not brazenly take up residence in Veda Nilayam. When the question is asked by the late distant CM’s blood relatives, Sasikala could arguably produce a document purporting to render her stay legal and official. Such a move would be like dealing oneself 5 aces in a deck of four for the following reasons," sources said.
Such wills/testaments/covenants need to have signatures primarily of the owner of the property and or properties. If Sasikala produces such a document, its signature could be questioned as even the nominations of those who contested the by-elections only had the thumb impression of Jayalalithaa – while she was in Apollo Hospital. The follow-up question to the existence of such a document would be – why did the late CM sign the will and not the nomination papers. There can be no answers to that.
The second question could be about the secrecy of Jaya’s stay in hospital.
Persons holding constitutional authority like the officiating Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao were not allowed to see the CM in person.
Precedents like the treatment undergone by Jaya’s mentor – late CM MG Ramachandran in the US of A and the conspicuous absence of the same in the case of Jaya could prove a clear pointer.
Privacy reasons justifying non-issuance of health bulletins were morally and legally acceptable when Jaya was alive. Posthumously, such tales cannot hold water in courts. Seized of the matter, the Madras High Court has asked the hospital authorities, the state and central regimes for their explanations, a top lawyer opined.
At this point in time, the centre can wash its hands off saying it respected the privacy of the lady in question and accepted the credibility of hospital’s health bulletins. The hospital too could legally pass the buck, the advocate added.
But, the state government – that had been headed by Jaya till her last breath cannot. The cabinet is collectively responsible for decision[s] affecting the state’s political future and the future lives of the state’s citizens.
The absence of a will, the presence of thumb impressions on the nomination papers of candidates during by elections and the continuous flip-flops by hospital authorities on the state of health the CM could lead to the court ordering the exhumation of Jaya’s body for a post mortem, is another startling point of view.
Second guessing the posthumous final diagnosis is an asinine exercise. But, even if it does produce a result to prove that Jaya’s vitalstatistics are indeed intact, the question as to why none was allowed to see her when all was well with her could assume gigantic and unanswerable proportions, goes an jurist's observation.
Sasikala could stymie the performance of such a hypothetical order of the Madras High Court saying ‘cutting up the remains of Amma would be sacrilege’. The result, in case she succeeds in such an exercise, the conversion of the matter into a trial in the High Court would be inevitable. Such a scenario could prove to be disastrous to Sasikala and co as the gang seems to have no answers to most questions, political observers felt.
After the demise of Jaya, the Damocles’ Sword of the Disproportionate Assets [DA] case continues to hang over the head of Sasikala.
It is plain as pikestaff to anyone and everyone that the conviction of Jaya had not been set aside. Her demise emancipated her from the clutches of what could have been a painful aftermath. The gaffes of Karnataka High Court judge Kumaraswamy’s calculator could cause the fall of a political guillotine blade on the neck of Sasikala, sending her to prison as decided by Sessions Judge DaCunha. That is one aspect that needs close scrutiny, informed sources felt.
Getting a judgement set aside in the High Court is one thing, staying out on bail on the basis of Supreme Court orders is another. A pending appeal when the protective VVIP is alive and in hospital was a third, but eminently workable proposition. However, when a Division Bench of the Madras High Court has begun raising serious doubts about the final days of Jayalalithaa, the possibility of the Supreme Court being lenient on Sasikala can only be termed a miracle. While one cannot predict the Apex Court's final denouement, the hypothetical conviction by the SC could gum up Sasikala’s dream-works of being the political boss of Tamil Nadu. In such a scenario, those who are begging Sasikala to save the AIADMK would end up demanding her ouster for the same purpose.
The reasoning is simple.
The imbroglio could result in some AIADMK legislators crossing the floor, and/or simply voting against the regime and/or abstaining in case of any serious motion being moved in the state assembly with telling timing.
To overcome such doomsday predictions, Sasikala has many hurdles to cross. Here are the 3 important ones:
Beating the Madras High Court’s hypothetical heat over the final days of Jaya in Apollo;
Documentation justifying her stay in Poes Gardens passing legal muster;
Overcoming adverse ruling by the Supreme Court in the DA case.
Overcoming adverse ruling by the Supreme Court in the DA case.
Is Sasikala capable of completing the 3 important Herculean tasks? Former Chief Secretary Ram Mohan Rao is still smarting under the slur on him post the raids. Many believe that it was Sasikala who provided the info against Rao to ingratiate herself to the Arun Jaitley camp within the BJP. Rumours are afoot indicating that Rao is gathering ammo to return Sasikala's compliment.
Only time can provide an answer to such possibilities.
There is an indication of the disaster waiting to happen.
Deals abhorred by Jaya – especially the one concerning the UDAY scheme to streamline power supply was signed a month after the late CM was laid to rest.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had opposed many of its conditions, particularly the directive to revise electricity tariff once in three months to offset fuel price changes. Till the time of her death, Jaya had given no indication of her readiness to sign the deal. Murmurs are being heard about Sasikala going against every known principle dear to Jayalalithaa to curry favour with those in power at the centre. The next 'aye' could be that of the GST bill - another piece of legislation opposed by Jaya when she had been alive and active.
Foul acts and conspiracies leading to capture of power is nothing new to the Dravidian parties.
After the death of DMK founder Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai on February 3 1969, Karunanidhi’s ascent to power was rife with deals, conspiracies and a lot worse.
Relevant excerpts from the Wikipedia dossier:
After Anna’s death, there was a serious power tussle between M Karunanidhi and V. R. Nedunchezhiyan. Most of the elected MLAs of DMK, including leaders like Mathialagan, Nanjil Manoharan and the celluloid hero MGR favoured Karunanidhi as CM in preference to Nedunchezhiyan, the senior leader after Anna. To pacify V. R. Nedunchezhiyan a new post called party president was created for M Karunanidhi and V. R. Nedunchezhiyan was given the post of general secretary. MGR was appointed as the Treasurer.
The political feud between MGR and the party president Karunanidhi came to the fore after Karunanidhi called himself “Mujib of Tamil Nadu”. MGR alleged large scale corruption by Karunanidhi. He was eventually suspended from the party’s General Council. A new party – All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) emerged.
Upon MGR’s demise on December 24 1987, Jaya alleged that her mentor had been poisoned by his widow Janaki.
Jayalalithaa was manhandled by members of MGR’s family and her political rivals, she claimed.
Operative excerpts from a relevant press interview given by Jayalalithaa:
In the early hours of December 24 a friend gave me the shocking news of MGR being no more. I rushed immediately to MGR’s residence. Initially, I was not allowed inside. Then, I spotted the ambulance with MGR’s body inside. My driver was instructed to chase the car and not allow any other vehicle to come in between. When the body lay in state at Rajaji Hall I stood by my leader’s side for 13 hours the first day and 8 hours the second day. During this time, 7 or 8 ladies stamped on my feet, drove their nails into my skin and pinched me. When I tried to join the funeral procession and board the gun-carriage with soldiers’ assistance, Tamil film actor Deepan, Janaki’s younger brother’s son hit me on the forehead, pushed me, beat me, kicked me and threw me out. I was injured and bruised all over my body. I sent identical telegrams to the Governor, the chief secretary, and to the director-general of police.
The charge had led to the split in the AIADMK.
After Jaya’s death, the similar imbroglio has turned up like a bad penny yet again – as the succession war is getting dirtier by the day. Sasikala claims total support by legislators elected on the AIADMK ticket. But, the cadres continue to rip party posters that feature the face of the former aide of Jaya.
Posters of Sasikala have been found vandalised in some parts of the state, including Chennai. The ripped off posters were found on Greenways Road, near ministers' official bungalows and Lloyds Road, near the AIADMK headquarters. The root cause for the simmering anger against Sasikala was that she had been the lone attendant of Jayalalithaa and did not let supporters know her health status. Not even a single photograph of Jayalalithaa was released like it was done when party founder MGR was hospitalized, cadres said.
Sasikala has a challenger in the form of Deepa Jayakumar, Jayalalithaa’s niece.
Since J Jayalalithaa's death on 5 December, a woman with uncanny resemblance to her has suddenly come into focus in the public eye. Deepa Jayakumar, the 42-year-old niece of the deceased chief minister, was allegedly prevented by the police from entering Apollo Hospital to meet her ailing aunt. Later, she was also forced to wait for over 8 hours at the Poes Garden bungalow to get a last glimpse of her aunt's body. Since then, she has emerged from the shadows to challenge the choice of Sasikala as the leader of the party.
To sum it all up, Dravidian parties’ succession dramas can be divided into two parts – by apparent conspiracy and through the popular route.
MGR took the popular route, worked the crowds for nearly 5 years after being sacked from the DMK to capture power.
In 1987, after her mentor MGR's death, the thespian politician’s protégé – Jayalalithaa initially opted for the conspiracy route and later took the popular route after his widow Janaki allowed the merger of the two AIADMK factions. It was the aftermath of a reportedly shameful attempt to disrobe Jaya on the floors of state assembly by the DMK legislator Durai Murugan.
Jaya never possessed the charisma of the late MGR.
But, thanks to the sizeable fame acquired as the long standing female foil of MGR during her celluloid career, Jaya emerged victorious during the 1991 elections.
Clearly, the two women – Sasikala and Deepa – fighting like Kilkenny cats for power – aren’t blessed with any charisma – either that of MGR of that of Jaya.
Deepa resembles Jaya, but, has an issue with her male sibling, who, till the time of publication, seems to be in Sasikala’s camp.
Sans any visible and viable fan following comparable to those of Jaya and/or MGR, the power hungry antics of Sasikala and Deepa could only land Tamil Nadu into the realm of coalition politics a la Kerala. With fissiparous elements on the prowl in TN, before long, it could lapse into a situation akin to Kashmir in the north.
Technically, Sasikala is now calling the shots and ruling the roost.
But, what seems easy and too good for Sasikala at this point in time has the propensity of turning out into a bitter pill in Tamil Nadu politics.
If the centre’s Pongal gift to Tamil Nadu is a probe into the activities of ‘Mannargudi Mafia’ by the CBI, Tamil Nadu’s politics would change forever.
“History will not forgive those who are shamelessly supporting the political upstart woman Sasikala Natarajan. She has brazenly jockeyed herself into what seems like a politically advantageous position breaking every known democratic tradition. Answerable only to herself, her occupation of Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence poses serious legal and constitutional questions. Congress President Sonia Gandhi cashed in on the sympathy generated by the murder of her husband and former PM Rajiv Gandhi two and a half decades ago. One can say with credible evidence that the political blunders of the Congress are responsible for India’s headache – the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheer political opportunism on the part of other regional outfits have worsened the situation to the extent that the nation’s enemies have dared to attack India’s air force base in Pathankot – close to the border with Pakistan. The political horizon of Tamil Nadu is pock-marked by regional parties whose leaders have espoused secessionist causes time and again. Sasikala has successfully copied the Sonia Gandhi formula of entering a political arena through unconstitutional means. If she is allowed to retain control over the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [AIADMK] – something she clandestinely wrested from the hands of an ailing Jayalalithaa – very soon Tamil Nadu could suffer the same fate as Kashmir on its southern shores,” opined columnist S Gurumurthy during a series of private chats.
Thuglak and Junior Vikatan are two main Tamil language periodicals, vehement in their criticism of Sasikala . Till December 5 2016, Sasikala was a personal aide to the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. When she returned to Poes Garden after having been ousted in 2011, Sasikala put out a statement that she will only be a maid in the household of Jaya and not indulge in any political activity and/or recommend any officer's transfer or promotion. The questions now being asked is: What made her so important so suddenly after Jaya's somewhat mysterious demise?
Thuglak’s veteran celebrity satirist editor Cho S Ramaswamy passed away on December 7 2016. He had been stinging in his criticism against the double-standards of politicians of all hues. In its previous avatar, Thuglak had been part of the Vikatan Group. Since then, for long, it had been owned by Cho and his family. The ownership of the weekly has changed hands. It is now part of the Kumudam Group.
Commentators have found it convenient to dub exposure of ‘Dravidian’ outfits’ corrupt underbellies as attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party to capture power in Tamil Nadu. Statements made by BJP VVIPs like Venkaiah Naidu that seem to be in support of Sasikala gang's machinations have only added grist to the rumour mills.
To ram their point home, media outlets’ alleged Brahmin and upper-caste domination is used to point to fulcrums of an anti-Dravidian bias amongst the elite.
Dwindling vote-shares of second-rung political parties in Tamil Nadu have led to corrupt politicians seeking short-cuts to cling on to lucrative power-retention formulae based on casteist vote-bank-politics, opine intellectuals from religious minorities with a nationalist-mindset.
“A facile method to sow fissiparous seeds is abuse of the term ‘right-wing Hindu nationalist’. It is cleverly leveraged to propagate anti-India propaganda and demolition of images of national icons like Mahatma Gandhi. This trait is alarming. Pakistan has no legal status to stake any claim on Kashmir, yet it does and political parties have been fishing in murky waters of the Dal Lake getting muddier and bloodier by the minute. Similarly, there was and is no basis for a separate Dravidian state – yet – parties that sometime or other espoused such causes have held power in Tamil Nadu since 1967. Many may argue that DMK founder Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai eschewed the separate Tamil Nadu slogan in the late 50’s but Karunanidhi has kept the bogey alive all the time. MGR and Jayalalithaa did not need such slogans as their popularity was far more than those of Karunanidhi and the rest of the opposition put together. Nevertheless, both allowed such slogans continuance as some kind of a 'political insurance.' But, after the demise of Jayalalithaa, in pathetic attempts to retain power in Tamil Nadu, the likes of Sasikala and her husband Natarajan would stoop to any level to maintain their stranglehold over the state,” said Aslam Sadiq [name changed] who lives in a Muslim ghetto in Triplicane, a central Chennai urban compendium of pigeon-hole like residences dotted by mosques.
“Those talking of Muslims being ill-treated and yearning for Pakistan forget the heroism of Abdul Hamid in the 65 war against the northwest invaders. Using imagery of past injustices suffered by religious minorities to divide India is also fashionable. Intellectual arrogance of better-informed sections of population results in such shallow forces growing roots and driving thoughts inimical to the unity and integrity of India deeper into abysmal depths,” Sadiq added.