Days after Dr Kafeel Khan was absolved of the charges of medical negligence in Gorakhpur child deaths, the Yogi Adityanath government has ordered a fresh probe into allegations of indiscipline, corruption and gross negligence while on duty against him.
In a previous inquiry conducted by a senior IAS officer and submitted to the Medical Education Department in April 2019, Khan had been absolved of two out of four charges levelled against him by the government.
Of the four charges, the doctor was found guilty of indulging in private practice and being attached to a private nursing home in Gorakhpur till April 2017.
Principal Secretary Medical Education Department, Rajneesh Dubey, has now said that the fresh inquiry will investigate a total of seven charges against Khan.
Dubey will be the inquiry officer to probe these charges.
“Khan has not been exonerated in the case. He has been spreading misinformation through social media as well as in mainstream media regarding the investigation,” said the officer.
“Departmental proceedings in four cases against Khan were recommended after he was prima facie found guilty in the incident at the BRD Medical College. He was found holding private practice and operating a private nursing home while still in the position of senior resident and regular spokesperson in government service. These two charges are cases of serious corruption and gross violation of rules.”
Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan was a paediatrician at the BRD Medical College. More than 60 children died in just two days, between August 10 and 11 in 2017 allegedly because of disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor.
Khan was suspended on the accusation that he had failed to take prompt action or warn his superiors about the impending crisis despite knowing about the situation. He spent nine months in jail for the charges.
The investigating officer Himanshu Kumar, Principal Secretary (Stamps & Registration Department) had submitted the probe report into the deaths to the Medical Education Department on April 18, 2019. But the Uttar Pradesh government did not take any action on it, nor did it make the report public.
Khan has blamed the state government for keeping him in the dark about being absolved of the allegations made against him for around five months.
The report clarifies that Khan did inform his seniors of the oxygen shortage, providing the inquiry officer with call details of the same and also presenting proof of providing seven oxygen cylinders in his personal capacity, on the night of the tragedy.
Now, in the fresh inquiry, another angle will be probed which includes an incident from 2018, where Khan had tried to treat children at the district hospital in Bahraich. This, along with spreading misleading information in media, will be put under the charge of serious misconduct.
“During the suspension period, Khan attempted to treat patients by forcibly entering the paediatric department of district hospital Bahraich with three-four outsiders on September 22, 2018, causing panic in the hospital,” the Principal Secretary said.
In the earlier inquiry report, Khan was, however, not found to be the in-charge of AES 100 number ward where the oxygen supply tragedy had struck, claiming the lives of more than 60 children in August 2017.
He was also not found guilty of not informing is seniors of the emergency situation back then nor was he involved in corruption related to tendering process for oxygen cylinders, as per the earlier report which surfaced in the media on September 27.
The Gorakhpur tragedy became a major political issue for the Yogi Adityanath government two years back, as it was formed barely five months prior to the tragedy. The state government blamed Khan for the tragedy.