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Retired Madras HC judge Justice A Arumughaswamy to probe Jayalalithaa’s death

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Jayalalitha

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Judicial enquiry ordered days after Tamil Nadu’s forest minister hinted that AIADMK chief’s family and kin had a role in her death

Days after Tamil Nadu’s forest minister Dindigul Sreenivasan issued a public apology claiming that the party’s top brass “lied” about the medical condition of deceased AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and indicated that her family had a role to play in her death, the Tamil Nadu government delivered on its promise of a judicial inquiry into the chief minister’s mysterious death in December last year.

The Edappadi Palaniswami-led state government, on Monday, appointed retired Madras High Court judge Justice A Arumughaswamy to probe the circumstances in which Amma died at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital on December 5 last year – 75 days after she was wheeled into the facility for treatment of fever and dehydration.

“A government order has been issued to set up an inquiry commission headed by retired judge of the high court Justice Arumughaswamy to probe Jayalalithaa’s death and submit a report,” a brief statement by the state’s information department said.

Last month, in a bid to broker a truce with the party’s rival faction led by O Panneerselvam, Palaniswami had agreed to his demand of setting up a judicial probe to look into the circumstances leading to the demise of Jayalalithaa. Days later, while the Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions of AIADMK united and the former returned to join the state government as chief minister, the third rival faction led by Jayalalithaa’s close aide and party’s now sidelined chief, the jailed VK Sasikala, and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran continued their machinations to destabilise the state government.

However, the biggest shocker on the mystery behind Jayalalithaa’s death had come on Friday when Sreenivasan claimed that no political leader – including Panneerselvam (OPS) who was then the acting chief minister – was allowed by Amma’s family members and closest aide, VK Sasikala, to see the AIADMK chief during the 75 days that she was admitted in the Apollo hospital- from September 22 till her death on December 5.

Sreenivasan was referring to the several claims made by OPS, his ministerial colleagues in Tamil Nadu and various AIADMK functionaries during the time when Jayalalithaa was in hospital – each of whom claimed to have paid her a visit in the hospital and many who gave media bytes about her condition, what she enquired about or what she ate.

“The claims made by us that she ate idlis in hospital were a total lie, because none of the ministers were allowed to meet her in the hospital and none of us knew the reality,” Sreenivasan said, adding: “There were several leaders who visited the hospital, but all of them were allowed only up to the first floor. Beyond that no one was allowed. All were made to sit on chairs or on the floor and after a chat left. Nobody saw Amma”.

“The family did not allow anybody near Amma during her hospitalisation. They alone know how Amma died and they are responsible,” Sreenivasan had said, in a comment that expectedly put renewed focus on rumours that Jayalalithaa’s death was not ‘natural’ and that her family members or the jailed Sasikala may have had a role to play in the death.

Sasikala’s nephew and the now sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran – who for the past few weeks has been trying to unseat Palaniswami from the chief minister’s chair – has dismissed Sreenivasan’s charges.

On Monday, hours before the Palaniswami government appointed Justice Arumughaswamy to lead the judicial probe into Jayalalithaa’s death, Dhinakaran revealed to the media that Sasikala had shot a video of the ailing Amma while she was hospitalized.

“CCTV footages are available with the hospital. We have a footage shot by Chinnamma (Sasikala), after insisted by Jayalalithaa over her weight loss (sic),” Dhinakaran told reporters, adding that Jayalalithaa was in her night wear and was watching television when the video was shot.

“When asked by him (pointing to his confidante and RK Nagar poll in-charge, P Vetrivel) if the footage could be used during RK Nagar bypolls, Sasikala said no. She told us to seek setting up inquiry commission ourselves and submit the video footage at an appropriate time. We are ready to give to any inquiry panel, CBI or whatever. We are not scared,” Dhinakaran said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma says only 8 people applied for citizenship under CAA

Addressing a press conference at the Lok Sewa Bhawan in Guwahati, Sarma said that out of these applicants, only two have attended interviews with relevant authorities.

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that only eight people have applied for citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) from the state so far.

Addressing a press conference at the Lok Sewa Bhawan in Guwahati, Sarma said that out of these applicants, only two have attended interviews with relevant authorities.

The Assam CM further said that the State conducted outreach programmes in the Barak valley and approached many Hindu Bengali families and asked them to apply for citizenship under CAA. However, they refused to do so saying that they would prefer fighting their cases at the Foreigners Tribunal (FT), Sarma added.

Foreign Tribunals (FT), quasi-judicial bodies exclusive to Assam, are authorised to decide the nationality issue of doubtful citizens, he asserted. Sarma also claimed that most of the Hindu-Bengali families, who were not included in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), told him that they possessed the necessary documents to prove their Indian citizenship and preferred the FT route rather than applying for through the CAA.

When asked whether the Assam government is dropping cases in Foreigners Tribunals (FT) against Hindu-Bengalis, Sarma termed it misleading. He said the State cannot drop any case. The government is simply advising that before initiating a case, individuals should apply through the CAA portal. Even if a case is filed, there won’t be any outcome because these people are eligible for citizenship, Assam CM emphasised.

CM also assured that he is going to request the Advocate General to flag the issue of CAA so that FTs can give time to people whose cases are going on to apply for citizenship under the newly implemented law.

He added that the government cannot give a direction to the court to pause while deciding the citizenship cases. The FT judges themselves have to decide and they know the latest situation, Sarma said.

He also explained why there was a low number of applications in CAA, saying the Opposition myth that 15-20 lakh Bangladeshis will get citizenship in Assam has been busted completely.

The Chief Minister said that during the anti-CAA movement, five Assamese youths lost their lives. So they made the sacrifice to prevent only these eight people, he asked. This abysmally low number of eight applications, of which only two turned up for interview, is a bit surprising for us also, he said.

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AAP claims Arvind Kejriwal lost 8.5 kg, Tihar jail rebuts

Not 8.5 Kgs but Kejriwal lost around 3.5 Kgs during his incarceration period in prison.

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The authorities in Tihar jail on Monday addressed the accusations of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that the Delhi Chief Minister has lost 8.5 kg weight through his term of imprisonment, saying not 8.5 Kgs but Kejriwal lost around 3.5 Kgs during his incarceration period in prison.

This was only after one of the confessed BJP’s was planning to destroy Kejriwal’s life by ignoring his medical needs as a diabetic. In contradiction, Tihar prison representatives, according to reports, disclosed that the chief minister has only lost 2 kg of weight from March 30 till now, and he is under the scrutiny of a medical board comprised of doctors from AIIMS.

It all started when AAP leader and Delhi Minister Atishi on Sunday claimed that Kejriwal had a drop in his weight of 8.5 kg after his arrest and his blood sugar continued to be below normal levels several times while in care.

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh painted a picture of doom by stating that Tihar doctors had verified Kejriwal’s weight loss, mentioning the consequences of excessive health complications due to hypoglycemia. However, the Tihar prison administration denied the claims of AAP, which were sent to the home department of Delhi by saying they were misleading and detrimental to the prison, and were crafted to weaken trust in the prison system.

The authority alleged that they see a report each time the measurements are done; it makes them do their work better, as Kejriwal’s doctor uses it to monitor his condition. Prison staff stated that all necessary health care is provided to him, and he is always fed three times a day with home-cooked meals.

They were vociferous in condemning a plot, saying that the aim was to damage the image of the prison with wrong tales. As stated by Tihar-based medical documents, Kejriwal’s weight was 65 kg on April 1, as he got into the prison, and 66 kg from April 8 to 29. After getting back to jail on June 2, following a 21-day intermediary bail, his weight went down to 63.5 kg.

On July 14, his weight reduced further to 61.5 kg. Thus, a total of 2 kg was lost during his detention. The health condition of Kejriwal is still monitored by the AIIMS medical board, and updates on his health are being regularly given to his wife, Sunita Kejriwal.

However, there is the AAP that is adamant about their affirmative claims, stating that the act of reporting the documents without his go-ahead is illegal and also gives the impression that there are activities going on with the ultimate goal of getting rid of him.

This was followed a few months later by his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation on June 26 in a corruption case that revolved around the same case. Although he was granted anticipatory bail by possibly the apex court filed in the case of money laundering, he is still detained due to the ongoing corruption case.

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Hemant Soren meets PM Modi in Delhi, first meeting after release from jail

He secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

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Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in Delhi. This was his first meeting with the Prime Minister after he was released from jail where he spent around five months.

Taking to X, Jharkhand Chief Minister said that the meeting was a courtesy call. Notably, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 this year in connection with a money laundering case related to an alleged land scam.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president had spent around five months in prison, he secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

On July 3, JMM leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Soren stepped out of the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi Friday following the grant of bail by the Jharkhand High Court.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, while granting bail, noted that the Court’s findings satisfy the condition that there exist reasons to believe that Soren is not guilty of the PMLA offence he has been accused of.

Following Soren’s bail on July 3, the outgoing Chief Minister Champai Soren had said that the party alliance decided to elect Hemant Babu (Hemant Soren) as leader, after which he resigned from his post. Champai Soren tendered his resignation to Governor C P Radhakrishnan and soon after Hemant Soren staked a claim to form the government. Soren along with alliance party leaders met the Governor after he reached Ranchi on July 3 evening from outside. Hemant Soren took oath as the 13th Chief Minister of the State on July 4 again.

Meanwhile, earlier today, BJP leader Deepak Prakash claimed that Hemant Soren’s government of 4.5 years has been one that wreaks havoc on the public, one that takes away employment from the youth. Hemant Soren’s government is a synonym for corruption. The government has been involved in a mining scam, a tender scam and one that has brought jungle raj in the state, he added.  

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