Gorakhpur hospital tragdedy: oxygen vendor arrested

Manish Bhandari, the propietor of Pushpa Sales, which supplied oxygen to Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, was been arrested in Deoria on Sunday.

With this, all the nine persons charged in the First Information Report on the deaths of dozens of children in the hospital last month are behind bars.

More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died at the hospital within a week last month. The deaths allegedly occurred due to a disruption in oxygen supply since the vendor had not been paid.

The Yogi Adityanath administration in Uttar Pradesh has vehemently denied oxygen shortage as being the cause of the deaths – which fails to explain why, in that case, the oxygen vendor has been arrested.

The others arrested are clerks Uday Pratap Sharma, Sanjay Tripathi, and Sudhir Pandey, chief pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal, anaesthesia department chief Dr Satish, encephalitis wing ex-chief Dr Kafeel Khan, ex-principal of the medical college Rajiv Mishra, and his wife Purnima Shukla.

"Manish Bhandari, the proprietor of Pushpa Sales was arrested by the Gorakhpur Police at around 8 am from Deoria bypass road," Senior Superintendent of police Gorakhpur Anirudh Sidhartha Pankaj told PTI.

The SSP said Bhandari's medical examination is being conducted and subsequently he will be interrogated. "Later he will be produced in a local court," he said.

According to police sources, Bhandari was absconding since the deaths made national headlines.

Last week, the anti-corruption court had declared Bhandari an an absconder, and issued orders to attach his properties.

In its report submitted on August 23, a probe committee under UP chief secretary Rajive Kumar had recommended initiating criminal action against then principal of the BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra, HoD Anaesthesia Paediatric department Dr Satish, in-charge of the 100-bed AES ward Dr Kafeel Khan and Pushpa Sales.

Chief Minister Adityanath had constituted the committee under the chief secretary on 12 August, a day after deaths of scores of children in the state-run hospital.