Gorakhpur children deaths: Dr Kafeel Khan charged with stringent sections

Failing to prove corruption charges, police have invoked the more serious Section 409 which may even lead to life imprisonment

PTI
PTI
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Biswajeet Banerjee

Two of the doctors, who are among nine accused in cases related to death of children in BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, in August because of lack of oxygen, may have to face life imprisonment as police have charged Dr Rajeev Mishra and Dr Kafeel Khan under more stringent section 409 of the IPC.

The section 409 is grievious offence and, if found guilty, the accused might be awarded life imprisonment, senior advocate Padam Kirti said. The section (breach of trust by government official) has a provision of life imprisonment or jail sentence up to 10 years.

The police have dropped corruption charges against the doctors. The medical fraternity is angry over this change in the chargesheet. They allege that this was done at the insistence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had made doctors a scapegoat in the BRD tragedy. As the police failed to prove corruption charges, more stringent 409 IPC has been invoked, doctors opine.

Last week, the Gorakhpur police filed a fresh charge against the nine accused but section 409 of IPC was slapped only against Dr Mishra and Dr Khan. The chargesheet have been filed in a case where 33 children died in two days due to disruption of oxygen supply owing to non-payment of bills to the supplier, Pushpa Sales Pvt Ltd, a Lucknow based company. The company alleged that doctors were asking for more commission.

Posted as nodal officer of the encephalitis ward at the hospital, Dr Khan was originally accused of accepting bribe in the FIR lodged on August 23.

But during initial probe, the police failed to prove corruption charges against the two and thus dropped charges under 7/13 Corruption Prevention Act, Section 66 of IT Act and 15 Indian Medical Council Act against Dr Khan and Dr Mishra.

Khan was also accused of working at the nursing home run by his wife and not informing senior officials when the situation worsened on the intervening night of August 10 and 11 in the internal inquiry.

Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj, SSP Gorakhpur, said that the investigation is going on very objectively and dropping charges is a very subjective term. He said, “We are not unnecessarily pressing charges against anyone.”

“During the investigation, enough evidence for pressing IT Act charges was not found. Supreme Court has already struck off section 66 A of IT Act. As far as corruption charges are concerned, Dr Khan is a government employee and he has been charged with section 409 which is a far more serious charge," he told reporters in Gorakhpur recently.

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Published: 30 Nov 2017, 10:53 AM