After spending 111 days in custody,two directors of the fire-ravaged AMRI Hospital were today granted bail by the Calcutta High Court which observed that day-to-day affairs of the hospital were not run by them.
A division Bench comprising Justices Ashim Kumar Roy and Asim Kumar Ray granted the bail prayers of R S Goenka and Prashant Goenka,directors of AMRI where a fire in December last year claimed over 90 lives.
The Bench observed that from the statements of senior officials as submitted by the prosecution,it became clear that AMRI Hospital was run by a directorial board and a managing committee which ran its day-to-day affairs.
While the board met once in three months,the committee met on Saturdays every week and took decisions on everyday affairs of the hospital.
As such,the petitioners,who were not members of the managing committee,did not run the day-to-day affairs of the hospital,the court observed.
The Bench further observed that the present petitioners,i.e,R S Goenka and Prashant Goenka,as directors had lesser responsibility than the members of the managing committee.
Apart from these observations,the court said that it had given consideration to rival submissions,police records and had also taken into account previous judgements cited by the lawyers in the case,before deciding on the bail prayers of the two accused.
Observing that investigation in the case was complete and charge sheet submitted by the police,the court noted that four of the accused,including three directors,have already been granted bail.
Dr Moni Chhetri,the managing director of the hospital who holds the license for the hospital,was given bail by a trial court,apart from Dr Pranab Dasgupta and senior vice president Satyabrata Upadhyay.
Director R S Agarwal was granted bail by the high court.
The court noted that while the state had appealed against the bail of Agarwal,it was yet to do so in case of the other three who were granted bail by the lower court.
A total of 16 people were accused in the case,of whom 12 were directors and the rest senior officials of the hospital.
All of them were charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Seven persons are still in custody.
Three board members Aditya Agarwal,Preeti Surekha and Rahul Todi are absconding.
More than 90 persons,most of them patients,died after inhaling smoke in the dead of the night from a fire that allegedly started from cotton and other materials stored illegally in the basement of the multi-speciality hospital.