The Allahabad High Court on Thursday said there was no evidence of medical negligence against Dr Kafeel Khan, the paediatrician who was arrested after 63 children died at a Gorakhpur hospital in August. He was released on bail on Wednesday.

In its detailed bail order, according to the Indian Express, Justice Yashwant Verma said: “…there is no material on record, which may establish medical negligence against the applicant individually. This quite apart from the fact that no inquiry was also undertaken or initiated.”

The children had suffocated to death after Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital ran out of oxygen in August. Pushpa Sales, the company contracted to supply liquid oxygen, had cut off the supply after sending repeated reminders to the state-run hospital that its dues of approximately Rs 65 lakh needed to be paid.

The court, however, said Uttar Pradesh government’s affidavit did not attribute the deaths to a shortage of medical oxygen. “Learned AGA [additional government advocate] states that no aspect of the investigation remains outstanding,” said the court. “This clearly obviates the need for the continued custody of the applicant [Khan]. The applicant admittedly is a medical practitioner, a government employee with no prior criminal history.”

After the state government said the children died of encephalitis, the police arrested Khan for attempt to murder and graft. He was in charge of the acute encephalitis syndrome ward.

Khan was in prison for eight months, though his family had applied for bail several times. He finally got bail days after his family released a 10-page letter he wrote from jail, in which he claimed he was being made a scapegoat in the case.