Kolkata blaze: Hospital director’s bail plea rejected (Lead)December 21st, 2011 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Dec 21 (IANS) A West Bengal court Wednesday rejected the bail plea of AMRI Hospital director R.S. Agarwal, an accused in the hospital fire tragedy that killed 93 people Dec 9, as also a police plea for his custody and ordered that he be kept at a hospital under arrest till his medical report is submitted.
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Alipore Court, (South 24 Parganas) Chowdhury Hefazat Karim asked a medical board of five doctors to give its final report on Agarwal’s health Dec 23.
The blaze at 3.30 a.m. in the Advanced Medicare & Research Institute (AMRI) Hospital — co-founded by the Emami and Shrachi Groups along with the state government in 1996 — choked and burnt to death mostly critically ill patients and two nurses, while most doctors and other staffers were able to get away.
The court said Agarwal’s prayers seeking home cooked food and personal attendant would be left at the discretion of the medical board.
Counsel for Agarwal, chairman of the Rs.1,100 crore Emami Group, pleaded for bail on health ground.
Defence lawyer Amit Bhattacharya prayed that in case his bail was denied, he may be shifted to the intensive cardiac care unit of the state-run Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital (SSKM) Hospital.
He said an expert from the private B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre - where Agarwal was under treatment earlier - be also given access to him.
Defence counsel also pleaded that Agarwal should be allowed to have home cooked food and a personal attendant be arranged for him because of his failing health.
Public Prosecutor S.P. Ghosh opposed the plea and said accused’s pleas related to home cooked food and personal attendant should be decided by the medical board.
Bhattacharya, however, countered saying the board has been formed to ascertain whether the accused was healthy enough to come to court and not to monitor his daily health.
Ghosh said as per the patient’s own statement he was “conscious and alert”. The investigation officer should be given access to interrogate Agarwal in the presence and permission of a doctor.
Agarwal, one of the seven AMRI directors arrested Dec 9, hours after the blaze at the hospital in South Kolkata’s Dhakuria area. Since he was taken ill and admitted to a private hospital, he was kept under arrest there.
On Monday, he was brought to the court premises for presenting him before the judge. The CJM went to the ambulance to speak to him before directing that he be admitted to the n SSKM Hospital for a check up.
The medical board submitted a preliminary report on Agarwal’s health.
The six other arrested directors of the hospital, including Shrachi Group chairman S.K. Todi and his counterpart in the Emami Group R.S. Goenka, have been remanded to police custody till Dec 23.
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Tags: bail plea, board counsel, cardiac care unit, chowdhury, defence counsel, defence lawyer, emami, fire tragedy, ghosh, heart research, home cooked food, hospital director, judicial magistrate, karnani, medical board, medical report, personal attendant, public prosecutor, sskm, west bengal