Gorakhpur Tragedy: Principal & Wife In Jail For 9 Months, Son Claims Being Made 'Scapegoats'
It has been 9 months since the horrible incident of the death of nearly 70 children in Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital. It has also been 9 months since a senior doctor and his wife is in Gorakhpur District Jail. The Principal of Gorakhpur BRD Hospital, Dr Rajiv Mishra and his wife Dr Purnima Shukla are still in jail after Dr Kafeel Khan, Manish Bhandari, and Dr Satish secured bail for themselves.
Dr Purak Mishra, son of Rajiv Mishra, a former surgeon with Apollo Hospital, Delhi, is now running pillar to post to secure bail for his parents who, according to Purak, are being made “scapegoats”.
Bail plea rejected
The 64-year-old Rajiv Mishra and 60-year-old Purnima Shukla are in jail for the last nine months despite deteriorating health. Dr Rajiv is a cardiac patient and has lost 10kgs. He was admitted to the hospital twice in these nine months, once in April for two weeks and then admitted to RML Hospital, Lucknow for treatment in May. He also has a chronic liver disease, non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis and is in the need of medical attention.
“The medical attention available in Gorakhpur district jail is pathetic. They are not equipped to handle such situations. We have been requesting medical care but the recommendations by doctors are ignored. It is a constant worry,” says anxious Purak.
Dr Purnima Shukla, who was associated with the medical college as a researcher through CCRH ( A wing of AYUSH Department), had nothing to do with the death of the children. It is important to note that Dr Purnima was not even an employee of the medical college and had no authority to interfere in any of the matters officially.
“It was not under her jurisdiction to make payment. She was not involved in anything other than the Ayush department. Why is she in jail for 9 months?” asks Purak.
Both of their bails have been rejected by High Court. The government in their counter filed in the court has maintained its stand that there was no shortage of oxygen and deaths were natural, yet, Dr Rajiv Mishra has been booked under Section 308 for culpable homicide and 120b for criminal conspiracy. He has also been booked for not making payment to Pushpa Sales, the oxygen supplier. Purak has approached the Supreme Court, who has directed the government to look into the matter and give a judgement by June 6.
Their bail is being rejected by saying that the moral responsibility of the death of the 60 children is on them.
Accusations & What Documents Say
They are accused of not making payment to the gas agency, Pushpa Sales. They are also accused of asking for commission for which Prevention of Corruption act 7/13 has been put upon them.
Dr Mishra is also booked under 409, which includes charges of money embezzlement with Dr Kafeel for allowing him to buy necessities for the hospital like masks, gloves and other things during the emergency. He is also booked under Section 308 for culpable homicide and 120b for criminal conspiracy.
There are documental proofs, which The Logical Indian has access to, show otherwise against the accusations. As far as the payments to Pushpa sales is concerned, every time the budget was issued by the government, the payments to the agency were made. The work of Dr Rajiv in the payment procedure was just to sign it and forward which he did every time.
The pending money of the gas agency Pushpa Sales was due in March 2017, as the budget lapsed, for which enquiry committee was set up, which clearly stated that it was the fault of a clerk and DDO.
The government budget is issued under specific heads, the principal cannot decide which payment is supposed to be made. Every time the budget was issued for the new financial year, it clearly stated that no dues are supposed to be paid. The agency had received payments of their bills of later months. The May budget issued by the government again clearly stated that all the money is supposed to be paid only to the pathology dues.
The Principal was constantly being threatened by the gas agency for their dues, he has written multiple reminder letters to the DGME, DM, Principal secretary health begging for the budget to be issued for the dues, which met with no response.
He also informed them about the same in a conference call. He had been convincing Pushpa sales to not terminate the oxygen supply and wait for govt to issue the budget for dues. Pushpa Sales on August 2 gave an ultimatum of 15 days to pay the due. After a lot of requests, the payment was made on August 9 and it was supposed to take a day to get credited to Pushpa Sales. The oxygen cylinders got emptied the next day and the incident took place on August 10.
The document shows the principal did everything in his capacity to make sure the oxygen supply was not stopped. He wrote several letters to ensure that all dues were cleared, yet, he is in jail for 9 months and is treated like a convicted criminal.
A Son’s plea
“My father has served Gorakhpur’s BRD Hospital for forty years. He has taken care of all kind of patients and was respected by people. He is being made a scapegoat and my mother is unnecessarily dragged into this mess. After the incident happened, my father was not allowed to make a statement in front of the press. I remember he got threatening phone calls that asked him not to speak to the media. Now, people think we are the culprits. People have ostracised us. I just want everyone to know the truth. I want everyone to know that they did not do anything. In fact, my father sent reminders to the government many times for budget allocation and payment to Pushpa Sales. They are not at fault.”
All Letters, Documents and Proofs are available with The Logical Indian.