Private firm Pushpa Sales Private Limited on Thursday refuted a magisterial report, which held it “responsible” for interrupting the supply of liquid oxygen to Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur.
It claimed that it did not stop supply though it put pressure on the hospital to receive its overdue payment.
Manish Bhandari, the owner of the firm, said he was willing to submit “evidence” before the government to prove his stand.
“If they have submitted it [DM report] we will give our evidence when the government asks. We have said that we have not stopped [the supply of oxygen]. We will prove it,” Mr. Bhandari told The Hindu .
In his report submitted to the Uttar Pradesh government, District Magistrate of Gorakhpur Rajeev Rautela said Pushpa Sales should not have cut the supply of oxygen as the firm was in the business of “life-saving.”
Mr. Bhandari shifted blame on to the hospital authorities, saying it was their responsibility to maintain the stock of oxygen cylinders and also said that the contract to supply cylinders was with another firm.
“Maintaining stock of cylinders is not my responsibility,” Mr. Bhandari said.
He also raised questions if financial irregularities in the hospital were behind the “missing” cylinders.
A note circulated by Meenu Walia, the HR manager of the firm, said the company maintained supply of liquid oxygen to the BRD hospital “irrespective of overdue payment.”
“First supply for the month of August was made on August 4. The next intimation of refilling request from BRD medical college was given on August 11, which was also made available on August 12 by Pushpa Sales,” said Ms. Walia.
While the DM’s report talks about the interruption of oxygen supply in the hospital, blaming the firm as well as senior hospital management, it remains silent on the cause of death of the children.
Raising suspicions of irregularities, DM Rautela also found “over-writing” in the stock book of the hospital.
The report said anomalies in the hospital log book of oxygen cylinders, instances of “over-writing” in the stock book and the failure of the management to maintain a “serial-wise and date-wise” payment of bills to the private firm “prima facie” indicated “financial irregularities.”
It recommended that an audit be conducted and that a high-level probe be held by the medical education department.
The DM indicted Satish Kumar, HoD of anaesthesia ward, and Gajanan Jaiswal, chief pharmacist of the medical college, for laxity in executing their duty of maintaining the oxygen cylinder log book and stock book. “They did not maintain their records well and over-writing was found in the stock book,” the two-page report said. Mr. Kumar was also held “guilty of not discharging his duties” as he was in-charge of the log book as well maintaining the supply of liquid oxygen.