A day after the Delhi health department submitted its preliminary findings on the deaths of four ICU patients at the Sushruta Trauma Centre after oxygen supply snapped due to a technical fault, the police asked the owner of the company that operates the gas pipeline in the hospital to join the investigation.
PES Installations Pvt. Ltd is responsible for the installation and functioning of the gas pipeline plant inside the hospital since 1996, when the government had decided to outsource the facility.
The oxygen supply had snapped for about 15 minutes on Monday morning, killing four persons in the intensive care unit. Another person died a day later.
"We sent the owner a notice today and directed him to furnish all documents and records related to the contract," said Sindhu Pillai, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north).
The police seized relevant documents from the hospital and recorded the statements of key people on Thursday.
The attendance log book that allegedly had been tampered with - only six of the nine technicians were present in the day and one instead of three at night to oversee the functioning of the pipeline - was also seized.
Sources said the company was arm-twisting the hospital into continuing the contract by claiming only it could provide trained manpower to run the plant. The contract was again given to the company in 2002 even though it was not the lowest bidder.
"We are investigating this angle too, as it seems the protocol was overlooked while renewing the contract. Though it's very early to say much," said Pillai.
Sources in Delhi Police said more people will be questioned, including Delhi government officials. Government officials, however, claimed they had been transparent all through the procedure.
"What I have come to know is that the other party (bidder) was absolutely new and PES had experience and had originally installed the plant in 1996," said health minister AK Walia.
Fresh recruitments have been made in the trauma centre to replace the guilty doctors. "We have appointed a new additional MS and they are recruiting doctors. The order was issued with immediate effect," said Walia.