India

India: Madras high court questions Jayalalitha death cause

Jayalalitha Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jayalalitha was one of India's most charismatic and enigmatic personalities

A court in India's Tamil Nadu state has asked why the body of former chief minister J Jayalalitha cannot be exhumed for investigation.

The Madras high court said the "media has raised doubts" about the cause of her death on 5 December, and "the truth should be revealed".

She was admitted to a local hospital for more than three months, but little information was given about her health.

Jayalalitha was one of India's most charismatic and enigmatic politicians.

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The two-judge bench was hearing a petition, seeking an investigation into the former chief minister's death.

"We also saw in the newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead," The Times of India quoted the judges as saying.

"At least after her death now, the truth should be revealed," they added.

The next hearing is due to take place on 9 January.

Jayalalitha's close aide Sasikala Natarajan, who was with her in her final days in the hospital, has taken over as the chief of her AIADMK party.