In what appeared to be a tit for tat to repeated assertions by MK Stalin of a fresh probe into J Jayalalithaa’s death, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami Monday alleged late DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was kept under “house-arrest” for two years till his demise.
Levelling the charge at an election rally in Nilgiris district, the Chief Minister said the 94-year-old Karunanidhi, who passed away on August 7 last year, could have been taken abroad for treatment and indicated the AIADMK government could launch a probe into it.
Repeated attempts to contact senior DMK leaders for their reaction to Palaniswami’s charge did not yield any immediate response.
Stalin, who succeeded Karunanidhi as DMK chief, has been harping on the ‘circumstances’ leading to the death of late chief minister Jayalalithaa in December 2016, saying if DMK comes to power, it would order a comprehensive probe into it.
In his Lok Sabha election campaigns, Stalin has been saying such a probe would ‘unravel’ the facts behind her death to Jayalalithaa’s true followers.
The Justice Arumugaswamy Commission constituted by the AIADMK government is currently probing the circumstances leading to the demise of Jayalalithaa.
Palaniswami Monday claimed Karunanidhi was kept under “house arrest” by Stalin for his own “selfish interests” and that it was the “government’s duty” to probe any hardship faced by the veteran Dravidian stalwart since he was a former Chief Minister.
The AIADMK joint coordinator said complaints had been received in this connection.
He charged that Karunanidhi was not given proper treatment by Stalin, fearing he may not succeed his father as party chief, should the veteran return in good health.
“Karunanidhi is a former chief minister…he was not given proper treatment and put under house arrest by Stalin because he thought he cannot become party chief if his father did well,” Palaniswami said.
DMK workers “say Karunanidhi would have talked if he had been taken abroad and given better treatment. So Stalin kept his father under house arrest for his own selfish interests,” he told the crowd.
Since Karunanidhi is a former chief minister and was an MLA at the time of his death, in August 2018, “it is the duty of the government to probe whether he faced any hardship,” the AIADMK Joint Coordinator added.
Karunanidhi fell ill in October 2016 due to a drug induced allergy and was admitted to a private hospital in December 2016. He had undergone tracheostomy, a procedure to optimise his breathing.
The chief minister further added he was making these remarks based on “available information.” He also asked why Stalin was not made party chief when Karunanidhi was alive, and pointed out that the DMK chief came to the present post only after his father’s demise.
Stalin was elected party President unopposed on August 28, 2018, weeks after his father passed away.
Karunanidhi passed away on August 7.