Victim families of the Shrey Hospital fire on August 6 – in which eight Covid-19 patients had died – have demanded that those responsible for the incident be charged under IPC section 302 (Murder) and/ or section 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and if required, the investigation be moved to an independent agency
Eight patients had lost their lives after the ICU they were admitted in was charred due to a suspected short circuit. Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, members from the victim families highlighted the differential treatment being meted out to them vis-a-vis the course of investigation and action that was taken in the aftermath of the Takshashila fire incident in Surat.
“We saw immediate action being taken after children had died in the Takshashila fire in Surat. Officials were sent to jail, arrests were made, bail has been repeatedly rejected for some and they continue to be in jail. Why isn’t there any action being taken in our case?” questioned Kishore Sindhi, relative of 55-year old Jyoti Sindhi who had died in the Shrey Hospital fire.
The victim families continue to demand an independent probe, preferably by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as not a single accused has been taken into custody yet. One of the victim family members pointed out that loopholes continue to persist in the circumstances under which the deaths occurred. “No hospital personnel had a single scratch, nor did their mobile phones. How is this possible? Some of the patients’ phones were stolen. How has the police been unable to recover this even a month later? There was also a phone (Jyoti Sindhi’s) which was being picked up by a hospital staffer’s mother. That is theft. How is there conveniently no footage of the incident?” chimed in the victim families collectively.
The Takshashila fire that occurred on May 24, 2019, had claimed 22 young lives and an FIR was registered within 24 hours of the incident, charging the accused under IPC sections 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 114 (Abetment). A total of 22 accused were arrested in the case and five are currently out on bail.
On the other hand, in the case of Shrey Hospital, the FIR came to be registered on August 10, nearly four days after the incident. The main accused, hospital trustee Bharat Mahant, was granted regular bail within 24 hours after his arrest. The victim families have made representations to the chief minister’s office as well as the home department and police officials, seeking an independent and thorough probe.
Meanwhile, as victim families addressed mediapersons outside the now-closed hospital on Saturday, Intelligence Bureau officials and police personnel were seen deployed at the site, with the former noting down names and other details of the victim families’ members.
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