Fearing arrest, all the nine accused named in the FIR lodged in connection to the death of children at Gorakhpur-based BRD Medical College and Hospital, allegedly due to the lack of liquid oxygen supply, are absconding. Now, the Gorakhpur police have sought help of
the Special Task Force (STF) to trace the accused.
Last week, based on a probe conducted by the state government, hospital principal Dr Rajeev Mishra, his wife Dr Purnima Shukla, Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan (incharge of Ward 100, where the deaths were reported) Dr Satish Kumar (head of anesthesia), chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal and clerks Uday Pratap Sharma, Sanjay Kumar Tripathi and Sudhir Kumar Pandey were booked. All of them have been suspended.
Besides the eight, the FIR had also named Manish Bhandari — the proprietor of M/s Pushpa Sales, the company responsible for the supply of liquid oxygen to the hospital. The FIR was initially lodged at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station, but the probe was later transferred to Gulriha police station in Gorakhpur.
“As soon as we began the investigation, we realised that all the accused are on the run, including the former principal, his wife, doctors as well as owner of the company which was supplying oxygen. Thus, we have engaged the STF to help us in locating these individuals,” said Gorakhpur SSP Satyarth Anidrudha Pankaj, who has set up three teams to investigate the case.
He added that police are trying to convince the accused through family members and friends to cooperate with the investigation. “We are trying to convince them that we are gathering evidence right now and thus, there is no need to be afraid,” said Pankaj. Following death of 60 children at the hospital between August 7 to August 11, the government had set up an inquiry committee headed by Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar. While on August 10 and August 11, the hospital had faced oxygen shortage, the government had linked the deaths to different diseases, including encephalitis.
The report had held Rajeev Mishra and his wife prima facie guilty of negligence of duty; Kafeel of not adhering to the norms of the Medical Council of India; Satish — responsible for maintaining oxygen supply — of going on leave on August 11 without due permission and the clerks of not informing the hospital about the oxygen supplier’s letters regarding non-payment of dues and also not paying the company despite funds being available. “Out of the four clerical staff and two doctors, whom we served suspension notices, only Uday Kumar Sharma and Sanjay Kumar Tripathi received the same personally. The rest could not be located and we had to paste suspension notices outside their official addresses,” said P K Singh, officiating principal of the hospital.
“Since police have started the investigation, even these two clerks have gone missing. Soon, the official copy of the chief secretary’s report will be made available to us, based on which, all the accused would be served notices. We have been told that the police are looking for them all,” he added.