Late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s car driver for decades deposes before inquiry panel

Ayyappan also claimed that on September 22, 2016, when Jayalalithaa was not well and postponed her day’s engagements, Sasikala and Dr Sivakumar insisted on her going to the hospital, but she refused.

Published: 09th March 2018 02:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2018 10:53 AM   |  A+A-

Jayalalithaa’s driver Ayyappan after the inquiry at Kalas Mahal on Thursday. | (D Sampathkumar | EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Ever since the inquiry commission into the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa started recording witnesses for over four months, for the first time, one key witness — Ayyappan, the car driver of the late leader since 1991 — deposed in support of V K Sasikala and said she looked after Jayalalithaa very well till the end.

“Truth is on the side of Sasikala and it will win one day,” he added.

Ayyappan also claimed that on September 22, 2016, when Jayalalithaa was not well and postponed her day’s engagements, Sasikala and Dr Sivakumar insisted on her going to the hospital, but she refused.

Ayyappan, hailing from Tirunelveli, said he was working with a travels company and joined as driver in Poes Garden in 1991. He also denied that he joined duty through Sasikala.

Talking to mediapersons, Ayyappan gave a detailed account of what happened from September 21, 2016, a day prior to Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation. He said Jayalalithaa was not well since September 21.

“On September 22, I went home after my duty hours were over. I got a call around 10.10 pm that Jayalalithaa was admitted to hospital. When I reached Poes Garden, I was given things used by Jayalalithaa and was told to hand over them at Apollo Hospitals. At the hospital, Amma was at Emergency ward. I handed over the things to Poongundran, secretary to Amma. It was around 11 pm. At that time, she recovered from unconsciousness. The then Chief Secretary Rama Mohan Rao, PSO Veeraperumal, DGP T K Rajendran and security personnel of Amma were there. I saw that Amma was talking to Dr Sivakumar.”

Responding to queries, Ayyappan further claimed that Jayalalithaa got engagements on September 22 also. Since she was not well, around 6 pm, Sivakumar and Sasikala insisted that she should go to hospital.

But Amma refused to go to hospital as she had postponed the day’s engagements to September 23 and going to hospital would have hindered those engagements. She wanted the doctor to visit her at residence. But only after she became unconscious, others took her to hospital.

Ayyappan said the chairman of the inquiry commission asked him whether there was injury on the head of Jayalalithaa when he saw her at the hospital.

He added that he denied that.

“On the fourth day of her admission in hospital, Jayalalithaa was moved to ground floor from second floor for taking CT scan. Later, she returned to her room within an hour. After that, I did not see her. The next time, when I saw Amma on the afternoon of November 19, when she was shifted to ward. I greeted her with folded hands. She also nodded her head,” Ayyappan said.

Ayyappan said after her death on December 5, her body was brought to Poes Garden around 3.15 am. He helped to take the body from the ambulance. Later, last rites were performed for her.

“All through, myself and PSO Karuppasamy were helping those engaged in rituals. We both helped tying the toes of Amma before performing the rituals,” he added. Asked about the rumours that one of her legs was chopped off, Ayyappan stoutly denied that. “Rumours are spread only to malign Amma,” Ayyappan said.

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