SUM Hospital Fire mishap: RDC begins probe

Bhubaneswar: The Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central on Monday begun investigation into the fire tragedy at SUM hospital here exactly a week ago in which 27 people have died so far. While 20 patients had died during transportation to nearby hospitals soon after the fire broke out, seven others had succumbed to injuries during treatment at several hospitals.

RDC (Central) AB Ota told media persons that general public can file affidavit regarding the incident.
“Anybody who wants to share his or her experience in the hospital on the fateful day and thinks that the information will be useful in our investigation can file affidavit. We will receive all the affidavits till November 3,” Ota said.

A day after the gruesome fire incident chief minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered an RDC level probe into the incident.

In a related development, the Khandagiri police approached the officials of Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) and sought documents regarding the registration of SUM hospital. The investigating team also requested the officials to handover the license related documents of the hospital which will be helpful to probe the matter further.

A day after the mishap, the DMET had filed an FIR with the Khandagiri police alleging the hospital was operating without valid registration.

Police sources said the joint director has assured the probing officials to cooperate in the investigation and handover all necessary documents to the police.

In the FIR, the DMET had also mentioned that the hospital had no effective and reliable fire fighting and fire controlling measures which led to the death of the patients. Preliminary investigation reports attributed deaths of patients due to asphyxiation.

On Monday, Amit Banerjee, vice-chancellor of SOA university appeared before the Khandagiri police twice to face interrogation by probing officials. Though he showed reluctance to divulge details about the police questioning, the two-hour interrogation suggested that the officials grilled the VC to elicit maximum information from him on the operation of the hospital.

Meanwhile SUM hospital owner Manoj Nayak who is currently lodged in Jharpada jail, has filed petition for bail before the SDJM court. The petition is scheduled for hearing on October 25.