THE STATE government informed the Bombay High Court Thursday that it had formed a committee to investigate the case in which 19 aborted foetuses were found dumped near a stream in a village in Maharashtra’s Sangli district. The technical committee has been formed under the chairmanship of the dean of the Medical College, Miraj, “to detect technical and administrative lacunae”.
This matter had come to light after a 26-year-old woman from Sangli’s Mhaisal village died following a botched-up abortion conducted illegally by a homoeopathic doctor, Babasaheb Khidrapure. After Swati Jamdade’s death on March 1, the villagers suspected foul play and approached the police.
Investigations carried out by the police revealed that patients were being referred to the hospital from neighbouring states too. “Patients were being referred to the hospital from neigbouring Karnataka. Based on the information, police raids were conducted and investigation is in process,” said the state’s affidavit.
After the samples of these foetuses were sent to a forensic laboratory in Pune, it was revealed that six of the 19 foetuses were female and three were male. “The state authority has sealed Bharati Hospital premises owned by Balasaheb Khidrapure. The Minister of Public Health and Family Welfare, Additional Chief Secretary (Public Health Department) and Director of Health Services visited the area (Sangli) and have given further instructions to the Dean of the civil hospital there to give all support to the police probe,” the affidavit said.
Taking cognisance of the incident, the court had earlier directed the government to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report. It had also asked the state government to carry out random checks of nursing homes operating in the state to ascertain if they had the required licences for operating according to the provisions of law.
According to the affidavit, random inspection drives were carried out at nursing homes and hospitals in the state by a team comprising officers from the police, revenue and health departments, and also the Food and Drugs Administration.
“A drive for inspection of nursing homes and hospitals in the state was launched on March 15, 2017 and concluded in a month. During this period, 3,795 private nursing homes were found violating various provisions. Appropriate action will be taken against the violators.”
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Atul Bhosale raising concerns over increasing number of illegal nursing homes and hospitals. “The state Health Minister has issued letters to Guardian Ministers, MLAs, MLCs, Mayors and Zilla Parishad presidents for implementation of various activities to improve sex ratio,” the affidavit read. The court has kept the matter for further compliance in September.