The Ahmedabad police booked the trustee of a healthcare facility on Tuesday, five days after eight patients died in a blaze in its intensive care unit, The Indian Express reported. About 40 coronavirus patients had been evacuated from Shrey Hospital, a dedicated coronavirus facility, and shifted to a civic hospital on August 6 after the fire broke out.
The police charged Bharat Mahant, who was detained on August 6 along with a ward boy, with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. Assistant Commissioner of Police (B division) LB Zala told the newspaper that any other accused in the case will also be charged with culpable homicide.
The first information report said the hospital management, including Mahant, displayed “grave negligence” that led to the blaze. “The hospital did not have fire safety and the NOC [No Objection Certificate], due to which there was no audit done by the fire safety department,” the FIR said. “Had the audit been done, then any shortcoming in the firefighting system of the hospital could have been noticed and the lives of eight persons could have been saved. There was no system of fire alarm in the hospital.” The staff did not use the fire extinguisher installed near the ICU ward when the incident took place, the FIR added.
“The hospital management did not provide any firefighting and rescue training to its medical officers and paramedic staff which shows their grave negligence,” Zala said in the FIR.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ordered a judicial investigation into the incident, after a government-appointed team submitted its report, according to PTI. Rupani had given the team three days to file a report. “Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has decided that a retired High Court judge will probe the fire incident at Shrey Hospital so that no person responsible for it goes scot-free,” the state government said in a statement.
The preliminary report, submitted by the team of two Indian Administrative Service officers showed that a short circuit in a piece of medical equipment led to the fire, which spread to the ICU. The fire was accidental, the report said.