Gorakhpur tragedy: now vendor claims oxygen cylinder supply was never stopped

We have been giving updates about the Gorakhpur tragedy where over 60 infants died, allegedly due to short supply of oxygen over nonpayment of dues. First reports emerged of one Dr. Kafeel Khan, nodal officer, paediatric department at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College. Earlier, he was hailed as a good samaritan who saved the lives of countless children that night. Soon, social media dug up not so flattering reports about his past.

People outraged when he was sacked and media was also quick to question his removal. Even as he called it a smear campaign against him, other reports make serious allegations against him, including stealing oxygen cylinders for his private practice.

Now, fresh details have emerged which suggest that the supply of oxygen cylinders was never stopped by the vendor, despite nonpayment of dues.

“Liquid oxygen supply maintained by Pushpa Sales to BRD hospital, irrespective of overdue payment, was duly maintained. First supply for this month was made on August 4 and the next intimation for refilling request from the BRD hospital came on August 11, which was fulfilled on August 12,” said Meenu Walia of Pushpa Sales.

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The vendor also claims the hospital became overdependent on liquid oxygen supply and also raised doubts of theft of oxygen in the hospital.

“Since April, this problem of delay in payment by the hospital had compounded. There were three conditions as part of our contract, according to which liquid oxygen, oxygen cylinders and Ambu bags were to be present at the BRD in abundance. But the hospital became too dependent on us while not refilling their cylinders. The government must find why there were just around 50 cylinders instead of 400 on that particular day when deaths took place. I suspect a big oxygen cylinder theft or racket, which they must find it out,” Pushpa Sales MD Manish Bhandari told Times of India.

As per latest development, Dr. Khan seems to have implicitly admitted to be running a private practice as well. As per reports in Times of India, Dr. Khan sent a series of text messages from his wife’s phone.

On Monday he said through a text message from his wife’s mobile phone, “Almost every doctor, even the newly-appointed nodal officer, Dr Bhupendra Sharma, and other senior doctors, are engaged in private practice.”

It is reported that Dr. Khan too has a private practice.

Some media reports, however, suggest that Dr. Khan is being made a scapegoat as Yogi Government does not seem to be happy with it. The report also claims that the rape accusations against Dr. Khan are false and he did not have any role in procurement of oxygen for the hospital.

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