M A I N   N E W S

10-day police custody for AMRI directors
Subhrangshu Gupta/TNS

Kolkata, December 10
Six of the seven arrested directors of the AMRI hospital, where 91 persons mainly patients choked to death after a fire, were today remanded to 10-day police custody by a court here, as the defence counsel alleged that he was not allowed to move bail.

Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Alipur court, S M Shahnawaz remanded R S Goenka, S K Todi, Prashant Goenka, Manish Goenka, Ravi Todi and Dayanand Agarwal in police custody till December 20.

Shahnawaz ordered that another AMRI director R S Agarwal, who was admitted to the B M Birla Hospital here after his arrest yesterday, be produced in court at the earliest.

The state government’s lawyers strongly opposed their bail petitions.

They pleaded that they be allowed to remain in police custody for some more days for enabling the cops to make further interrogation. The court also sent the accused to 10-day police custody.

The next date of hearing has been fixed as December 20, when all the accused will be produced before the court.

The lawyers appearing on behalf of Todi and other accused, however, alleged they did not get proper opportunity for pleading in the court today and they will make a fresh bail move for their clients either in the Calcutta Court or the Supreme Court on Monday.

Initially, there was chaos and confusion in the court following the decisions of the Alipore Lawyers’ Association and Alipore Bar Association to boycott the hearing. No lawyers in the court agreed to appear on behalf of the accused. But the associations did not oppose the appearing of lawyers of some other courts on behalf of those arrested. Accordingly, two lawyers of the Calcutta High Court today pleaded on behalf of the accused.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the hospital fire incident today rose to 91, with two more patients succumbing to injuries in two different hospitals where they were taken from AMRI Hospital in a critical condition.

The bodies of two other patients from Agartala were reportedly missing. The two nurses on duty who were killed were identified today by their relatives after they arrived in the city from their hometown in Kerala.

Teams of forensic experts visited the hospital for making an on-the-spot inquiry. The 15-member police team of the detective department of Kolkata police inquiring into the incident also made an on-the-spot inquiry and interrogated hospital staff, doctors and security personnel.

The state minister for fire service and the disaster management Javen Khan said such a devastating fire could have been averted if fire-fighting regulations had been properly conformed to.

He alleged that the electrical installations in the hospital was defective and the fire might have been caused by a short-circuit.

Khan appointed a five-member expert team for looking into the fire safety arrangements in all hospitals, private nursing homes and other high-rise buildings in the city. The officials will, from time to time, visit hospitals and other buildings and submit reports to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.





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