The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday granted bail to doctor Satish Kumar who was jailed in connection with the death of 30 infants in a Gorakhpur hospital allegedly due to lack of oxygen supply last August.
Dr. Satish Kumar was the head of the anaesthesia department of the BRD Medical College, where the infants died.
The bail order was passed by a single bench of Justice Yashwant Varma. Dr. Satish Kumar’s counsel Dileep Kumar told The Hindu that his client’s plea was accepted on the grounds that there was no “cogent evidence” against him.
Dr. Satish Kumar was accused of dereliction of duty for allegedly being away from the hospital without authorisation during the crisis and not informing his superiors of the oxygen shortage after the supplier, Pushpa Sales, stopped supply.
He faced charges of attempt to commit culpable homicide, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the IPC. He was also charged under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IT Act.
Mr. Dileep Kumar said there was “no deliberate negligence” on behalf of his client who had “no involvement in the payment process.”
“He was not assigned any duty, except for the additional charge of maintenance of oxygen pipeline and storage tank, which he carried out well. He would inform the medical superintendent and principal, who are responsible for the oxygen supply and payment, whenever there was a shortage,” his counsel said.
The counsel also argued that Dr. Satish Kumar had gone to attend his son’s convocation ceremony in IIT-Bombay on August 12 after a “proper application endorsed” by the principal. When Dr. Satish Kumar learnt of the deaths, he rushed back to Gorakhpur without attending the convocation.
“His conduct says there is no complicity on his behalf,” his counsel said.
Two pleas rejected
Dr. Satish Kumar is the third person to get bail in the case, after Manish Bhandari, the oxygen supplier, and Kafeel Khan, an assistant lecturer in the paediatric department. The bail pleas of Rajiv Mishra, then principal, and his wife Poornima Shukla, were rejected by the HC.
A homoeopathic medical officer, Ms. Shukla has been accused of interference in the hospital administration and of seeking commission in the purchase of surgical equipment.