The former principal of BRD Medical College and his wife were on Tuesday arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in connection with the deaths of more than 70 children in Gorakhpur due to alleged lack of oxygen supply. “Dr. Rajiv Mishra and his wife, Dr. Purnima Shukla, who are named in an FIR lodged by the UP government, were arrested from Kanpur. They are being taken to Gorakphur,” Vijay Singh Meena, IG, Public Grievances said.
Mishra was suspended from his position on August 12 following the deaths, which occurred over a span of five days. He resigned the same day. Mishra and his wife were among those named in the FIR registered by the state government following a report by state Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar, who headed the investigation into the causes of the deaths. Dr Kafeel Khan, the former nodal officer of the acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) ward in the hospital was also named in the FIR.
According to Gorakhpur SSP, Anirudh Sidhartha Pankaj, a police team had also went to the home of Khan, who was removed from his post, after the deaths, to quiz him but he was not there. As per an STF official, the couple were being quizzed but declined to share further details.
The owners of Pushpa Sales, the company which was responsible for the supply of liquid oxygen, have also been named in the FIR.
Cases have been registered under various sections of the IPC, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Medical Council Act against Dr Rajiv Mishra, Dr Purnima Shukla, Dr Kafeel Khan, Dr Satish, Chief Pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal, Accountant Sudhir Pandey, Assistant Clerk, Uday Pratap Sharma of Pushpa Sales and Manish Bhandari.
However, the official report of the chief secretary denied lack of oxygen as the reason for the deaths. Earlier, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had formed the committee, a day after the deaths of children were reported at the hospital. The infant deaths drew widespread criticism from the Opposition, which demanded the resignation of the CM.
With PTI inputs