SUM Hospital promoter surrenders

Manoj Nayak surrendered before the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police hours after a look-out circular was issued against him.

October 20, 2016 10:06 am | Updated December 02, 2016 10:30 am IST - BHUBANESWAR:

Rescue work try to control the fire at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital in Bhubaneshwar on Monday night. Photo: Special Arrangement

Rescue work try to control the fire at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital in Bhubaneshwar on Monday night. Photo: Special Arrangement

Manoj Nayak, promoter of SUM Hospital, where a fire tragedy claimed 21 lives, surrendered before the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police hours after a look-out circular was issued against him and his wife in the early hours of Thursday.

Mr. Nayak reached Khandagiri Police Station here at 3.30 am on Thursday and surrendered himself. Subsequently, police made a formal arrest and started interrogation.

“Within less than 48 hours of registration of FIR, we have been able to arrest five persons in connection with the fire tragedy. Four persons were forwarded to court on Wednesday. When it was felt that Mr. Nayak was evading arrest and not cooperating with investigation, look-out circular was issued against him,” said Y. B. Khurania, Commissioner of Police for Bhubaneswar-Cuttack here on Thursday.

“We had carried out raids at his residence and office on Wednesday night. Police seized many important documents. The series of actions forced him to surrender before police. Now, he is being interrogated. Interrogation will take some time,” said Mr. Khurania.

“As far as his wife is concerned, Saswati Das, who is also a trustee, against whom look-out circular was also issued, has not contacted us. During course of interrogation, we will ascertain her role in management of the hospital,” he said.

Commissioner of Police said, “we are currently studying the organisational structure of the SUM Hospital. All trustees and others, whose culpability will come to fore, will be summoned for questioning and their statements will be recorded.”

Mr. Khurania hinted at more arrests in connection. Dismissing allegations about slowing down of pace of investigation into the fire tragedy, he said there could not have been faster pace of probe. The case has been registered under section 304, 308, 285 and 34 IPC and if required, more sections would be added up.

Meanwhile, K. B. Singh, Director General of Police, said, “investigators would try to know as to why he did not implement safety instructions and what was his source of financing.”

It needs to be mentioned that Special Investigation Team probing black money had instructed Odisha police to probe his source of financing by instituting a case. Mr. Nayak heads Siksha and Anusandhan Charitable Trust.

Police swung into action a few hours after, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured that stringent action would be taken against the guilty. Even Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J. P. Nadda, who found serious lapses in fire safety measures in city-based SUM Hospital, had said culprits should not go scot-free.

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