In an early morning swoop, Shimla police on Saturday arrested H S Chauhan, a Sub-Divisional Engineer of state’s Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) department and also got a four-day police remand of erring contractor Akshay Doegar, who was arrested in the jaundice case on Friday.
During the day, police interrogated Chief Engineer R M Mukul at Dhalli police station regarding the case. On his failure to get satisfactory replies, he was summoned along with his advocate to the police station once again on Sunday.
With police seem to have tightened its noose around the officials of the IPH department, including top-ranking engineers, there are chances of more arrests.
Superintendent of Police (Shimla) D W Negi, who remained at Dhalli police station to quiz contractor and other officials including Mukul, said police teams have been sent out to arrest the Executive Engineer of IPH, who was a senior supervisory officer of the lifting and Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) Malyana.
“We are expecting his arrest tonight. Till now, four persons including a Junior Engineer, a supervisor, SDO and contractor have been arrested,” he confirmed.
The state government earlier had shifted superintendency engineer of IPH and placed two engineers including Executive Engineer Vinod Kumar under suspension.
The police have also decided to get a statement of Shimla’s Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar recorded under section 164 CrPC at the court. It was on the complaint of Panwar the police had registered an FIR after the jaundice outbreak and set up an SIT headed by a senior police officer of the rank of Additional SP.
Negi informed that the he had sent the team to state’s health department to collect records about one death due to jaundice, which the officials have confirmed on website of the Health Directorate. “We will need full prescription of the deceased and and treatment . If we get the records, a new section ie 304 IPC will be added to the FIR against the accused .The case was turning out to be a fool proof as the investigations were progressin,” SP told The Indian Express .
The police have already taken records from the Indira Gandhi Medical College hospital where over 400 patients were treated for jaundice.
Said Dr Ramesh Chand, Senior Medical Superintendent IGMC Hospital, Shimla: “We have handed over the records to the police required as part of the investigations .There is nothing to hide on our part.”
Reports confirm that jaundice was caused due to contamination of water at Ashwani Khad, a down hill stream where the untreated sewage was being discharged from the Sewage Treatment Plant, Malyana run by contractor Akshay Doegar.
“He has kept bogus employees and created bogus records to show that the plant was being run. Actually, he was saving over Rs 1 crore, out of approximately Rs 1.35 cr paid to him annually by the IPH department to run five STPs. We are looking into a corruption angle against him also,which will also involve some officials of the IPH,” said Negi.
Shimla Mayor Sanjay Chauhan on Saturday revealed a report of the National Institute of Virology which not only has confirmed contamination of sewage from Malyana plant into Ashwani Khad but also recommended that supply scheme be closed down or treatment plant be relocated, or its discharge be bypassed from Ashwani Khad. He rejected reports that say open defecation and septic tanks are also responsible for the pollution of Ashwani Khad.