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Congress lays charges of “culpable homicide” against Jharkhand CM, 5 others over Jamshedpur children deaths

Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar in a complaint lodged with police alleges Raghubar Das and five others deliberately “hide evidences of gross negligence” that led to so many deaths

india Updated: Aug 29, 2017 08:09 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Congress,Jharkhand CM,Raghubar Das
Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar lays charges of “culpable homicide” against Jharkhand CM and five others over the alleged deaths of 164 children in the past four months at a government-run hospital (HT File Photo )

The opposition Congress on Monday laid charges of “culpable homicide” against Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das, health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi and four officials over the alleged death of at least 164 children in the past four months at a government-run hospital in the state.

Former MP and Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar in a complaint lodged with a police station in Jamshedpur accused Das, Chandravanshi, and four health department officials of deliberately trying to “hide evidences of gross negligence” that led to the demise of the children at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College Hospital (MGMMCH) in the steel city.

The four officials named in the complaint are health secretary Sudhir Tripathy, principal of the MGMMCH Dr A C Akhouri, superintendent of the hospital, Dr Bhartendu Bhushan and East Singhbhum district civil surgeon Dr K C Munda.

The MGMMCH is a premier health institute of the state, which also caters to patients from neighbouring West Bengal and Odisha. As per a government data around 2900 children up to 12 years of age were admitted to the hospital from January to July 2017.

Questions were raised over the health-care facilities in the institute after a survey conducted by Jharkhand Human Rights Conference (JHRC) found that 223 children died in the hospital in the last six months.

The National Human Rights Commission too issued notice to the state government on the reported deaths of 52 infants in 30 days at the hospital.

“A high level inquiry into the cause of children’s death is required,” said president of the JHRC Manoj Mishra . “Doctors and officials responsible for the deaths of innocent children should be put behind bars and government should give due compensation to the bereaved families,” he added.

The Congress now finds a major weapon in the JHRC report to target the state’s BJP government.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the chief minister and others named by him embezzled crores of tax payers’ money by purchasing substandard machines and equipment meant for treatment of infants.

The machines and equipment are now lying unutilised on the hospital campus, he added.

He claimed that during an inspection of the hospital they found that a modular operation built at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore and a lifesaving machine worth Rs 36 lakh were defunct.

The police complaint, a copy of which is in the possession of HT, further says that parents of the deceased were never given correct information about the nature of their children’s illness and cause of their death.

“Whenever the hapless parents sought a clarification, the hospital authorities as well as the civil surgeon rebuked and threatened them and drove them away,” it says.

Several NGOs raised question about the hospital authorities’ highhandedness and highlighted the gross lapses, but the state government did not take notice, Kumar said.

Doctors in the hospital, however, denied the charges of lapses claiming that with the limited resources available with them, they try to provide best treatment to the patients, but at times fail to save some lives.

Neither the ministers nor the officials were available for comments on charges against them.

Police also declined to comment on the action being initiated on the basis of the complaint. “We will take appropriate action,” said the officer-in-charge of the Bistupur police station where the complaint was filed.

Advocate Sudhir Kumar Pappu, who accompanied the former MP to the police station, said, “We will move the court if the police do not act.”

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 19:18 IST