The Allahabad High Court ruled there is no evidence of medical negligence against Dr Kafeel Khan while granting him bail nearly eight months after he was arrested following the death of over 60 children at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College Hospital. The kids had allegedly died of disruption in the oxygen supply in August 2017.
“…there is no material on record, which may establish medical negligence against the applicant individually. This quite apart from the fact that no inquiry was also undertaken or initiated,’’ justice Yashwant Verma said in a detailed order released on Thursday, a day after Khan was granted bail.
The court cited Uttar Pradesh government’s affidavit as the primary reason for granting the pediatrician bail. “…the (UP) State in its affidavit and more particularly in paragraph 16 thereof does not attribute the deaths to a shortage of medical oxygen.”
The court said Khan was kept in prison even as he was “not stated to be part of the tendering process” of the company supplying medical oxygen to the hospital.
“The applicant has admittedly been in custody for the last 7 months. Learned AGA (additional government advocate) states that no aspect of the investigation remains outstanding. This clearly obviates the need for the continued custody of the applicant (Khan),’’ it said.
The court noted the state — in its affidavit — does not refer to “any evidence, which may establish or even tend to indicate that the applicant has tried to influence witnesses or to tamper with the evidence”.
“The applicant admittedly is a medical practitioner, a government employee with no prior criminal history.” Others, including the main supplier of medical oxygen, Manish Bhandari, have been granted bail in the case.
The court noted the Supreme Court had granted Bhandari bail because the chargesheet has been filed in the case. The court took note of Khan’s medical condition.
Khan last week wrote a letter from prison alleging he had been made a scapegoat for an “administrative failure” at a higher level. He was booked along with eight others for criminal conspiracy, attempt to commit culpable homicide and criminal breach of trust.
The police filed a chargesheet in the case in November 2017 and the trial is still pending in a lower court in Gorakhpur.
Khan’s wife recently alleged he was being denied medical treatment in jail and his health was deteriorating. Following her complaint, jail authorities last week took Khan for a checkup to the district hospital in Gorakhpur.