Dr Kafeel arrested also for a video on his Facebook page

Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Dr Kafeel on Saturday, the day he would have been celebrating ‘Bakr’Id’ with friends and family

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Biswajeet Banerjee

The day after a local court of Gorakhpur issued a non-bailable warrant against seven people accused for the death of 33 children in BRD Medical college and Hospital in the second week of August, police arrested Dr Kafeel Khan, former in-charge of the encephalitis department, who has been charged with dereliction of duty.

Dr Kafeel, who was among nine people against whom UP government had filed an FIR was arrested in Gorakhpur. Senior police officer Anand Kumar said that the STF arrested the suspended doctor when he was trying to flee.

The FIR was lodged against nine persons on August 23 including suspended principal of the BRD Medical college Rajiv Mishra and his wife Dr Purnima Shukla, both of them were arrested on August 29 from Kanpur and taken to Gorakhpur. They were remanded to judicial custody.

On Friday, the Gorakhpur court issued non-bailable warrants against seven people including Dr Kafeel, after police claimed to have failed to trace them. The other accused who are on the run and have non-bailable warrants issued against them are: Senior anaesthetist Dr Satish, chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal, accountant Sudhir Pandey, assistant clerk Sanjay Kumar Tripathi and oxygen suppliers Uday Pratap Singh and Manish Bhandari.

BRD College and Hospital in Gorakhpur came into focus after the death of 33 children on August 10 and 11 – the day when the hospital’s supply of oxygen dried up.

Curiously, the state government had ordered three probes before lodging FIR against accused and all these probes had claimed that the death of children was ‘normal’ and had nothing to do with lack of oxygen. Still arrests have now been made holding these people responsible for the death of the children due to snapping of oxygen supply.

The police complaint was lodged after state chief secretary Rajiv Kumar submitted his report to the CM seeking strict action against the nine people.

Police have charged suspended Principal of BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra and Manish Bhandari of Pushpa Sales Private Limited, the company supplying liquid oxygen to the hospital for attempted culpable homicide (attempt to cause death) and criminal conspiracy. Dr Mishra has been accused of not clearing the payment of Pushpa Sales “because of non-settlement of commission.”

The police had held the Head, Anaesthesia Department Dr Satish and former nodal officer of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) ward Dr Kafeel Khan guilty of criminal negligence resulting in death of children. Dr Satish has also been charged with not informing his seniors about the scarcity in oxygen supply and Dr Kafeel Khan, who was in charge of the 100-bed AES ward, for not making adequate arrangements to ensure unrestricted supply of oxygen for the patients.

Dr Kafeel has also been accused of using social media to spread wrong information. He had posted a video in his FB account saying that he had pleaded with seniors and apprised them of the depleting oxygen supply, if cause of death of children was not lack of Oxygen.

“He has tried to project himself as a hero by claiming that he had arranged oxygen cylinders from his own pocket,” a senior official confided.

The case has been registered under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) and section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) apart from section 8 (taking gratification) of Prevention of Corruption Act, section 15 of Indian Medical Council Act and section 66 (misusing computer or communication device to send information which is untrue).

The video for which the doctor faces criminal prosecution

“Not three (oxygen) cylinders, I arranged 250 that night,” says Dr Kafeel in the video uploaded on his Facebook page and which appears to have irked the state government.

He was reacting to the news reports that he had borrowed three oxygen cylinders from a private nursing home when the supplier cut off the supply of oxygen to Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical college, Gorakhpur for non-payment of dues.

“Till 6 in the evening, there was not even a single person (from hospital administration). I was running from pillar to post all through the night and next day. DM (District Magistrate) also came to know about it during the day. I called up CMO Sir and AD Health (among others).

Describing the unfortunate situation to him, I begged 50 cylinders from CMS district hospital. I told him children are dying. No one stepped forward for help. Only Seema Suraksha Bal provided some assistance,” Dr Kafeel says in the video.

“How I begged for cylinders, what I went through while begging for the same…..and you talk about three cylinders…”

“What kind of things are being discussed about me. My entire family has gone into hiding. Ammi Jaan has gone for Hajj pilgrimage. She is worried there…”

With inputs from Ashutosh Sharma

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Published: 02 Sep 2017, 2:12 PM