Govt clears Dr Kafeel of all charges; sits over probe report for 5 months

Two years after a pediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan was suspended from BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur on the charges of corruption and negligence, the Yogi Government gave him a clean chit

Govt clears Dr Kafeel of all charges; sits over probe report for 5 months
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Biswajeet Banerjee

Two years after a well-known pediatrician of the area Dr Kafeel Khan was suspended from BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur on the charges of corruption and negligence, the Yogi Government gave him a clean chit saying he had tried to manage the situation when around 30 children died in one night of April 16-17, 2017 in the encephalitis ward because of lack of oxygen.

The inquiry report submitted by the Principal secretary (Stamps and Registration department) Himanshu Kumar has cleared Dr Kafeel of all charges and found him guilty of only doing private practice.

Though Kumar had submitted his report on April 18 this year, Dr Kafeel and others who were charged with dereliction of duty were not informed about this.

In his report, Kumar said that Dr Kafeel was not found guilty of negligence and instead he had made all the efforts to salvage the situation. He had informed his senior about the shortage of oxygen and when the situation deteriorated, he managed seven oxygen cylinders, the report said.

The investigation team, however, found him guilty of doing private practice but said that he was not involved in private practice after August 2016.

Khan had hit the headlines in 2017 when the administration charged him with taking away oxygen cylinders from the storage of the government hospital to his nursing home and not informing seniors about depleting oxygen supply that resulted in the death of children in the pediatric ward of BRD Medical College and Hospital.

He was later sentenced to seven months in jail and charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide. He was later granted bail by the Allahabad high court in April last year.

Khan had blamed the government for the deaths of children at the BRD Medical College in August 2017. He had alleged that he and his family were targeted for no reason. “The government is responsible for turning my life and my family’s life into a complete nightmare. It is nothing but government-sponsored victimisation. Whatever happened on the night of August 10, 2017, was a massacre and it was the fault of those who were reminded repeatedly for six months to clear the balance of the company which provided us with oxygen cylinders,” he had told reporters at that time.

Out on bail, he continues to be suspended from the institute. He had demanded a CBI probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, the IMA has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for revoking the suspension order and also for withdrawing all legal cases against Dr Kafeel Khan. “The shortage of oxygen cylinders in the hospital was due to nonpayment of bills to the vendors. But Dr Kafeel was accused of negligence even though he had bought cylinders from his money and saved the lives of several children,” IMA has said in its letter.

This was revealed through a reply to an RTI (Right to Information) query. And the government has accepted that there was a shortage of liquid oxygen for 54 hours in BRD Medical College on August 10, 11 and 12 and Dr Khan had indeed arranged jumbo oxygen cylinders to save the children.

This was revealed through a reply to a RTI (Right to Information), this fact has been revealed. And the government has accepted that there was a shortage of liquid oxygen for 54 hours in BRD Medical College on August 10, 11 and 12 and Dr. Khan had indeed arranged jumbo oxygen cylinders to save the children. has been revealed. And the government has accepted that there was a shortage of liquid oxygen for 54 hours in BRD Medical College on August 10, 11 and 12 and Dr. Khan had indeed arranged jumbo oxygen cylinders to save the children.

A departmental inquiry has also revealed that there was no negligence on the part of Dr. Khan and the tragedy occurred due to severe shortage in the oxygen cylinders.

The doctors also drew the attention of the PM to the sufferings of Dr. Khan and his family ever since his suspension and subsequent slapping of criminal cases against him. They urged the PM to compensate the doctor for the period he was suspended.

“Dr. Kafeel Khan’s suspension may kindly be revoked at the earliest and he may be compensated. Kindly prevail on the government of Uttar Pradesh to withdraw all pending legal cases against Dr. Kafeel Khan and BRD Oxygen Tragedy may be investigated by central agencies”, IMA said in its letter.

What Was The Case:

On the night of April 16-17, 2017 at least 31 infants died within 24 hours at BRD Medical College and Hospital after its liquid oxygen supply was cut since it failed to pay dues to the supplier. The principal of a medical college and three others were suspended.

Reports say that Pushpa Sales, the sole supplier of liquid oxygen to the hospital, had been writing letters regularly to the officials, saying the supply of oxygen could be disrupted if accumulated dues of Rs 68 lakhs were not cleared.

The firm had written letters to BRD authorities on August 1 and August 8 cautioning them about possible disruption. The letters, however, elicited no response. And when it stopped the supply catastrophe struck and over 30 children died on one night. The government claimed that Dr. Kafeel Khan was nodal officer and thus was arrested and suspended.

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