AMRI fire incident: Charges framed against 16 accused
Among the accused were the then hospital directors Shravan Kumar Todi, Radhey Shyam Goenka, Radhey Shyam Agarwal, Ravi Todi, Manish Goenka, Prashant Goenka, Aditya Agarwal, Priti Sureka and Rahul Todi, besides, doctor-directors Mani Chhetri and Pronab Dasgupta and Executive Director Dayanand Agarwal.
Apart from Section 304(2), charges against the 16 accused were also framed under Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and Section 36 (effect caused partly by act and partly by omission) of IPC, at the court of Additional District and Sessions judge Indranil Adhikary.
All the accused, except Preeta Banerjee, Sajid Hossain and Sanjib Pal, were also charged under relevant sections of Bengal Fire Services Act, the court said.
The court has fixed September 5 as the next date of hearing when the trial would start. In one of the tragic incident of hospital fire in West Bengal in recent times, 92 people choked to death due to sheer negligence of the hospital authorities. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the spot and supervised the rescue operations. Her intervention had saved many lives.
The fire had broken out in the basement of the building. It spread to the adjacent rooms and then the whole building was covered with smoke. The power supply was disconnected and the smoke engulfed the building through the AC duct. As the fire broke out at 2.40 am, most of the patients were sleeping and could not save themselves. Local people alleged that despite repeated requests, the hospital authorities did not allow them to break the window panes and the glass door on the ground floor to rescue the patients.
The fire brigade arrived at the spot and broke open the windows to rescue the patients, but by then the damage was done. Those who survived were admitted to different hospitals. Niramay Polyclinic was set up by some freedom fighters to provide treatment to people mostly coming from economically challenged background in and around Dhakuria in the 1960s. As they grew old, they found it difficult to run the polyclinic.
They approached Jyoti Basu, the then Chief Minister in the 1980s to find out someone who would run it properly. Instead of handing over the management to the state Health department Basu got in touch with SK Todi who was CPI(M) party’s card holder to run the polyclinic. Todi closed the polyclinic and finally pulled down the old structure to make room for the nursing home to cater to the rich.