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Updated: January 28, 2012 01:52 IST

Two more AMRI directors arrested

Ananya Dutta
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People gather near the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, where a major fire broke out on December 9, 2011. File photo
PTI
People gather near the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, where a major fire broke out on December 9, 2011. File photo

Two eminent doctors, who are also Directors of AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria, where a devastating fire last month claimed several lives, were arrested by the police here on Friday taking the number of persons arrested in connection with the case to 13.

Dr. Mani Chhetri and Dr. Pronab Dasgupta were arrested from their homes at 9 a.m. and remanded to police custody till February 2 by a city court later in the day.

Nonagenarian Dr. Mani Chhetri is a renowned doctor and was the Managing Director of the hospital and Chairman of the Managing Committee. Dr. Dasgupta was a member of both the Board of Directors and the Managing Committee. Later, Dr. Mani Chhetri was admitted to the government SSKM Hospital here after he complained of illness.

Asked why the police waited for nearly 50 days before making the arrests, Damayanti Sen, Joint-Commissioner of Police (Crime) of Kolkata Police said they wanted to ensure that they were involved in the day-to-day operations of the hospital and that there was sufficient documentary evidence.

“Dr. Chhetri's name is mentioned in the license of the hospital and he is signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of the pharmacy. Dr. Dasgupta was also involved in the daily operations,” Ms. Sen said.

With these arrests and the look-out notice issued against three other directors of the hospital, the government-nominees on the Board of Directors of AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria are the only directors against whom the Kolkata Police are yet to take any action.

Sukumar Bhattacharya, special secretary of the State's Health department and Asim Das were representatives of the State government in the Board of Directors.

“We are interrogating them to find out the extent to which they were involved in the operations of the hospital,” Ms. Sen said, adding that both of them had attended the meetings of the Board of Directors.

There were certain decisions taken, such as the construction of an office in the parking lot or the fact that patients were not evacuated from the premises of the hospital, which resulted in such a large tragedy. It will have to be seen who were responsible for these decisions, she said.

Seven directors of the hospital were arrested on December 9, the day of the tragedy. Later look-out notices were issued for Rahul Todi, Priti Surekha and Aditya Agarwal, who are absconding. Four employees of the hospital were arrested for their role in connection with the case.

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