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AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners
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AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners
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AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners
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AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners

AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners

India Blooms News Service




Kolkata, Dec 10 (IBNS): Six directors of Kolkata’s AMRI Hospital, the site of Friday’s fire that killed 91 eventually, were remanded to ten-day police custody by a court on Saturday, even as local people clashed with police at the ground zero in the evening over a van moving out of the sealed facility with disposables.


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier in the day ordered a judicial probe into the fire tragedy while a five-member expert panel led by Additional Director General of the Fire Department D P Biswas was set up.

Formation of another group for inspection of safety measures at places like hospitals, malls and academic institutions was also announced.

Faced with public outrage, the AMRI management on Saturday said it will soon set up a 5-member enquiry committee to probe into the matter and claimed that the radio therapy department is safe.


"Atomic on Energy Regulatory Board and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre have inspected the place and declared it to be safe," said AMRI Hospitals senior vice-president S. Upadhyay.

The hospital area was, however, a scene of clash in the evening again when the slum dwellers alleged that a van moving out of the compound was carrying bodies of dead babies killed in the fire.

The door of the van had to be opened finally after the police and local people clashed.

Top industrialists, Ravi Todi, SK Todi, Radhyashyam Goenka, Manish Goenka, Prashanta Goenka and Dayanand Agarwal, who serve as board members for the high profile hospital, were produced in Alipore court on Saturday.

Booked under charges of culpable homicide, they were given police custody by the judge.

Appearing for the government, lawyer and Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Bandopadhyay said the smoke alarms of the hospital were all switched off on Friday.

"All windows were closed," he said.

The accused will be produced in court again on Dec 20.

They were arrested by the police with non-bailable warrants on Friday based on an FIR lodged by the fire department.

Though the FIR did not mention any names, it held responsible the governing body of the hospital (including the directors), its supervisors and security staff, charging them with attempt to commit culpable homicide, which carries a punishment of up to seven years in jail, negligence causing a fire (punishable by up to six months in jail) and common intent.

Police teams from the Lalbazar Headquarters raided the offices and homes of some of the AMRI directors, and soon after the authorities started receiving “feelers” that several of the board members wanted to surrender before the police, media reports quoting officials said.

The hospital, owned by two of East India’s top business families, the Todis and Goenkas, who control the Shrachi and the Emami groups respectively, was sealed and its licence was cancelled by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also the state's health minister, had ordered strict action against the hospital authorities, whom she accused of “an unforgivable crime”.

Of the dead, four were hospital staff.

This is the second blaze at the premier private medical facility in three years which has been accused of illegal inflammable storage in the basement leading to the fire.

Kins of patients alleged there was no smoke alarm in the hospital which had swanky exterior but had been time and again accused of medical negligence and fleecing of patients.

Hospital authorities said the blaze occurred at around 3-20 am on Friday in an annexe building.

There were about 164 patients in the building when the fire broke out.





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AMRI toll 91; police custody for owners
 
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