AMRI toll rises to 91, six directors remanded to police custody
Slapped with charges of negligence and culpable homicide, six arrested directors of the super speciality AMRI hospital were today remanded to police custody for 10 days as one more patient died in Friday's fire tragedy taking the toll to 91. Tragedy at AMRI | Day after: 'Killer' Kolkata hospital turns into ghost house| Toll rises to 91 | Watch video | In picskolkata Updated: Dec 11, 2011 13:10 IST
Slapped with charges of negligence and culpable homicide, six arrested directors of the super speciality AMRI hospital were on Saturday remanded to police custody for 10 days as one more patient died in Friday's fire tragedy taking the toll to 91.
Six of the seven arrested directors of the hospital, were remanded to 10-days police custody by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Alipur court, SM Shahnawaz.
The six directors RS Goenka, SK Todi, Prashant Goenka, Manish Goenka, Ravi Todi and Dayanand Agarwal, charged mainly with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and negligence, were remanded till December 20.
Shahnawaz ordered that another AMRI director RS Agarwal, who was admitted to the BM Birla Hospital here after his arrest on Friday, be produced in court at the earliest.
Commissioner of Kolkata Police RK Pachnanda told PTI that one more patient from AMRI died during the day taking the toll to 91.
Police sources said that identity of the body was yet to be established.
Stunned relatives, blood-stained floors, scattered window panes and the smell of death bore a grim reminder of the country's worst hospital fire which started in the basement of the seven-storey hospital, resulting in pumping of toxic fumes through the central-airconditioned building.
Trapped in a virtual gas chamber, many of the patients, some hooked to life support systems, choked to death. While some lay immobilised with broken limbs, several others were in deep slumber when the smoke hit them.
Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee, who appeared as Special Public Prosecutor, accused the hospital management of flouting all safety norms, keeping the fire alarms switched off and that there were no emergency exits.
Amitava Banerjee, who appeared for the accused, told newsmen outside the court that he was not allowed to move the bail plea.
In the morning, wreaths were placed before the hospital on a makeshift memorial, a tribute by local people who assisted fire-fighters in rescue operations.
"So many lives have been lost due to our callousness," read a Bengali inscription on one of the wreaths.
There were 50 males and 39 females among the 89 bodies identified.
The fire-brigade again sent two tenders after receiving reports of fresh smoke in the basement of the AMRI hospital.
Fire brigade sources said that this was normal after a major fire and one of two engines sent was used to put it out.
Two blocks of the private hospital were sealed this morning by the city civic authorities.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has already cancelled the licence of the hospital for gross negligence and lapse.
The West Bengal government formed a five-member committee to audit the fires safety measures of hospitals, nursing homes, installations, hotels and high-rise buildings during the day.
Even 24 hours after the catastrophe, Paritosh Das of Agartala was looking for his brother Santosh who died in the fire.
Standing helplessly in front of the morgue at SSKM Hospital where the autopsy of the victims were conducted, Das said he had checked the bodies there several times, but could not find his brother.
In the case of another patient, Aparna Chatterjee, whose name had appeared in the casualty list, was found to be alive.
The body 65 year-old Bangladesh resident Gouranga Mondal, who was among the victims, was flown home.
First Published: Dec 10, 2011 15:29 IST