Describing the AMRI Hospital fire as one of the saddest moments of her life, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said veteran doctor Mani Chhetri had been arrested in connection with the incident.
She said Chhetri was an administrator of the hospital when the incident took place.
"I respect Mani Chhetri as a doctor. He was not arrested because he was a doctor, but because he is the administrator of the hospital. The other doctor (Pranab Dasgupta) was arrested because he is a director," Banerjee clarified during an interview to three news channels.
On reports that a section of doctors have criticised her government for arresting the 91-year-old Chhetri, who was also the physician of former chief minister Jyoti Basu, Banerjee said, "If age is a factor, why did he remain the managing director? The MD is the pillar of an organistion. The license for the hospital was issued in his name."
She said she had enquired about Chhetri's well-being after his arrest and that the doctor, now admitted to the state-run SSKM Hospital under police custody, was free to appeal to the court if he wanted to be transferred to a private facility.
"I will not interfere in this matter. The law will take its own course," she said.
Banerjee said Chhetri had retained his living quarters at the SSKM Hospital despite having retired from service there.
Describing the incident as the saddest experience of her life, Banerjee said, ''This was a turning point. Not only the entire country, but the entire world wanted the guilty to be arrested.''
With the arrest of Chhetri and Dasgupta, the police has arrested 13 people in connection with the incident and issued look-out notices for three others who are absconding.
On the reported statement by a section of industry bodies that the arrest of the AMRI functionaries would adversely affect the state's industrialisation attempts, she said, ''A section of the media is now trying to give a Marwari versus Bengali twist over the arrests.''
''An attempt was made to play the Muslim-versus-Marwari card during the Rizwanur Rahaman death case. But a murderer is a murderer. I condemn any attempt to portray such incidents in a communal light.''
At a function here earlier, she said she was not perturbed by the criticism regarding the arrests and the law will take its own course.
She said that no leniency would be shown to the accused.