Two days after inmates in Gopalganj’s Chanave Jail beat Dr Bhudeo Singh to death, the axe fell on district magistrate Pankaj Kumar Pal. Chief minister Nitish Kumar ordered his removal on Tuesday after receiving the probe report from principal secretary (Home) Amir Subhani. Jail IG Ramesh Lal was also in the firing line, but he retired from service the same day.
Anand Kishore will be the new IG (jail), while Pankaj Kumar will be the new district magistrate of Gopalganj.
“Whatever happened in Gopalganj jail is highly condemnable,” said the chief minister. The acting jail superintendent had been deployed elsewhere and the jailor was also on leave. “All these are findings of the probe,” he said.
The probe, Kumar said, touched upon various points, including the time taken by the district magistrate to reach the site. “The guilty will not be spared for the administrative lapse,” he said.
Kumar also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a job for a person from Singh’s family and full salary to them for his remaining service period.
The doctor, Kumar said, had been betrayed. “Normally, doctors going into wards are accompanied by guards. But the prisoners misled him, saying the patient was in too serious a condition,” he said.
Another administrative failure was that the jail authorities had neglected to shift the convicted prisoners to central prison.
The protest by government hospital doctors in Gopalganj and Patna against the murder, meanwhile, continued on Tuesday. The doctors’ body has demanded an ex-gratia of R1 crore for Singh’s family.
Singh’s family and the protesting doctors have also demanded a probe by the CBI.
“We suspect some foul play, as my uncle was receiving threats for some time. He had sought a transfer, but that did not materialise,” said Singh’s nephew Sonu.