A West Bengal court Friday denied bail to the arrested directors of AMRI Hospital, where a pre-dawn blaze killed 93 people earlier this month, and remanded six of them to judicial custody till Jan 5 next year.
Chief Judicial Magistrate of Alipore Court (South 24 Parganas) C.H. Karim also ordered that the seventh director R.S. Agarwal be interrogated in the presence of the attending doctor at the state-run SSKM Hospital where he is admitted now.
Agarwal, one of the seven AMRI directors arrested Dec 9, hours after the blaze at the hospital in south Kolkata’s Dhakuria area, has been kept under arrest at SSKM.
The court also ordered the SSKM superintendent to submit a report on Dec 29 about Agarwal’s health stating whether he should continue to be at the hospital or be transferred to a correctional home.
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, were sent to 14 days’ judicial custody till Jan 5.
The police custody of the hospital’s senior vice president (projects) S. Upadhyay and senior manager (maintenance) Sanjiv Pal – arrested Dec 13 – were extended by three days till Dec 26.
The court in response to a petition filed Thursday by the hospital authorities, ordered the state administration to allow them to access the treatment records of nine patients who were shifted from the premises Dec 9.
The hospital, in the petition, said that because the premises were locked by police, they could not access the treatment documents kept inside and this was hampering the treatment of nine rescued patients now admitted in other hospitals.
Earlier, the defence counsel stating that investigation was making no headway and the accused need not be interrogated anymore, sought for their bail.
They also accused the police of compelling the directors to sign on a blank paper, which the prosecution denied.
The defence also said it was not provided with a seizure list of the documents that have been confiscated from their offices by police.
The prosecution opposing bail requested for judicial custody for six directors while seeking a day of police custody for Agarwal.
‘As per the report of the medical board, Agarwal is physically stable and his health condition is suitable enough to be treated in any hospital. He is yet to be interrogated, therefore either he be sent to police custody or be sent to the jail hospital,’ public prosecutor Rajdeep Mazumdar said.
Mazumdar also contended that there was reasonable apprehension of tampering of evidence if the accused were released on bail.
The defence counsel accused the medical board of being “partisan” and “overzealous”.
“The medical board was constituted to ascertain whether he was medically fit enough to be present at the court and not to determine whether he requires treatment or not. The board has been overzealous in its effort and acting in a biased manner,” contended a defence counsel.