The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant interim bail to a former principal of a medical college and hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, where 63 children died in August allegedly because of shortage of oxygen supply, PTI reported.

Dr Rajeev Kumar Mishra of Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital told the top court that the children had died of Japanese Encephalitis and not because of oxygen shortage. Mishra’s advocate Mukul Rohatgi pointed out that paediatrician Kafeel Khan, who was the head of the encephalitis ward, and the oxygen supplier Manish Bhandari had been granted bail.

When Justices L Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar asked Rohatgi about the charges against Mishra, the senior lawyer said his client had been accused of not paying the bills to the oxygen supplier, because of which the supply was allegedly disconnected. “Then, what do you expect? That you will not clear the bills and the vendor will keep supplying the gas?” the judges responded.

The court issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on Mishra’s plea and and listed the matter for hearing on June 6.