Gorakhpur infants’ deaths: SC declines interim bail to ex-Principal

Supreme Court of India

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined interim bail to then Principal Rajeev Kumar Mishra of Gorakhpur-based Baba Raghav Das Medical College, where more than 60 children – mostly infants – died last year due to alleged shortage of oxygen supply through cylinders.

Unmoved by the plea for interim bail on grounds of ill health and incarceration for the last 10 months, a vacation bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar sought the Uttar Pradesh government’s response on the bail petition.

The petitioner has challenged the April 30 order of the Allahabad High Court that rejected his plea for bail.

The apex court directed for listing of the matter on June 6.

Mishra’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that while others, including the oxygen supplier, have since been granted bail, the former college head — arrested on August 29, 2017 — was in jail for the last 10 months.

Rohatgi said that the oxygen supplier was granted bail by the top court whereas co-accused Dr Kafeel Khan, who was present in the hospital on the day of the incident, was granted bail by the High Court.

Assisted by advocate Anupan Lal Das, senior counsel Rohatgi told the court that Mishra’s wife too was in jail for the last 10 months.

Asked by the court about the charges against Mishra, Rohatgi said that he was accused of not clearing the pending bills for oxygen supply due to which the supply of cylinders was stopped to the hospital.

“Then, what do you expect? That you will not clear the bills and the vendor will keep supplying the gas,” asked Justice Nageswara Rao.

Rohatgi told the court that children in the Gorakhpur hospital died not due to shortage of oxygen but due to Japanese Encephalitis.

“A detailed enquiry held by the state government clearly affirms that the deaths were on account of Japanese Encephalitis,” the petitioner claimed. (IANS)


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