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A West Bengal court on Thursday denied bail to a director of the AMRI Hospital where a fire earlier this month killed 94 people, and ordered he be physically present before the court Jan 2.

The director is currently admitted at the state-run SSKM Hospital. “Accused No 7 (RS Agarwal) is denied bail but considering the condition of his health, I am not inclined to send him to judicial custody. He is directed to continue his stay at the SSKM Hospital,” Alipore chief judicial magistrate CH Karim said in his order.

The court said that Agarwal can be interrogated there for the purposes of investigation, in the presence of a doctor.

It also directed the investigation agency to “make arrangements for his physical production” before the court Jan 2.

During the hearing, counsel for Agarwal sought his client’s bail on health grounds.

Agarwal was said to be suffering from a number of ailments, including cardiac and psychiatric, counsel said, praying before the court for bail so that Agarwal could be given suitable treatment at a private-run hospital.

Opposing Agarwal’s bail petition, public prosecutor Shakti Mukherjee raised doubts over his sickness.

“The accused got admitted to a hospital just a few hours after the tragedy. If he was that sick as claimed by the defence, then why was he not admitted earlier? The reports by the medical board of the SSKM Hospital also say his condition is stable.”

Mukherjee also contended that if Agarwal was released on bail, there was a likelihood that three other directors of the AMRI Hospital who are on the run, will never be arrested as two of those directors were his children.

The prosecution also accused Agarwal of not cooperating in the interrogations.

“When asked about the addresses of his absconding children, he says he can’t remember but his memory is good when it comes to remembering his shares, and other belongings,” said Mukherjee.

A lookout notice has been issued against Aditya Agarwal, Preeti Surekha and Rahul Todi who are hiding or on the run since the incident. Aditya and Preeti are Agarwal’s children.

Six other directors and two management staff are already behind bars in connection with the Dec 9 blaze. The trade licence of the hospital has been cancelled following the country’s worst fire tragedy in a hospital.

 

 


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