India infant deaths: Hospital's suspended chief, wife arrested

An Indian woman holding her child's hand at the encephalitis ward of the Baba Raghav Das Hospital in Gorakhpur, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
An Indian woman holding her child's hand at the encephalitis ward of the Baba Raghav Das Hospital in Gorakhpur, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Police in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday (Aug 29) arrested the suspended head of a hospital where more than 60 children, including infants, died in a span of six days.

Officers from a special task force also arrested Rajeev Mishra's wife Poornima. They were picked up from a prominent lawyer's house where they had apparently gone to seek legal counselling following complaints against them for alleged callousness leading to the deaths at the hospital between Aug 7 and 12.

Mishra was accused of sitting over payments to the vendor supplying oxygen gas to the hospital, the disruption of which allegedly led to the deaths of many children.

While the Uttar Pradesh government has vehemently denied that lack of oxygen led to the deaths, a high-powered probe committee headed by Chief Secretary Rajeev Kumar indicted Mishra and others on laxity and other charges.

Officials at Gorakhpur SSP Satyarth Aniruddh Pankaj's office confirmed the arrests and said the couple was being taken to Gorakhpur for further legal action.

In a related development, police raided the house of Kafeel Khan, the Nodal Officer in the Paediatrics Department, who too had been suspended after the deaths, that created a national furore.