Police are investigating into the deaths of a 40-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl living at a shelter home run by an NGO in Patna after the two were brought dead to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) Friday night.
SSP Manu Maharaj said a case of negligence has been lodged against NGO secretary Chirantan Kumar, its treasurer Manisha Dayal, a doctor who had attended to the inmates before they were taken to PMCH and an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife. “We have arrested Kumar and Dayal,” said the SSP.
Although the shelter management has said the two were suffering from diarrhoea and high fever, PMCH said reason of the deaths would be ascertained only after post-mortem reports come.
Though the post-mortem had already been conducted by a doctor, the hospital was asked to get it done again by a medical board because of the “sensitivity of the matter” following the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case.
On Friday, as part of the social welfare department’s exercise to check the status of all shelter homes in Bihar, a police team conducted a search at the shelter and learnt that a 55-year-old man had unsuccessfully tried to help five inmates escape. The short stay home staff, however, had not told police and social welfare department officials then about illness of the inmates. The shelter has more than 70 inmates aged between 14 and 45.
PMCH medical superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad told The Indian Express, “A staffer of the shelter brought a woman and a girl to the hospital Friday night. They were brought dead. We immediately suggested postmortem because any matter related to shelter homes is sensitive. The postmortem was conducted first by a single doctor, but we were asked to get the postmortem done again by a medical board.”
He said, “Only postmortem report will confirm reason of death.” The NGO’s secretary Kumar said during questioning that the inmates were suffering from “diarrhoea and high fever”.
Patna DM Kumar Ravi and SSP Maharaj visited PMCH on Sunday. A police officer accompanying the SSP said, “We have sought the full medical history and previous treatment details of the two inmates. The NGO secretary is not able to answer why the two were not brought to PMCH in time.”
While Social Welfare department director Raj Kumar was not available for comments, a senior department official said, “It is a matter of surprise why the shelter authorities did not tell us about the illness of two inmates during the search on Friday. We will wait for the postmortem reports to know if there was any foul play. In any case, we have initiated the process of taking over all 110 shelter homes in the state.”