Childrens death in Gorakhpur hospital: Suspended Dr Kafeel Khan sacked

Dr. Kafeel Khan, suspended in August 2017 after the death of 70 children due to lack of oxygen supply to the hospital, has been dismissed, a senior government official said PTI on Thursday.

Dr Khan, a Paediatrician in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital, has been sacked late on Wednesday night after being found guilty in the probe into the circumstances leading to the death of nearly children in the hospital, said Alok Kumar, UP Principal Secretary (Medical Education).

“As the matter is sub judice, the detailed information about Dr Khan’s dismissal will be given to the court,” Kumar said

After his suspension on August 22, 2017, Dr Khan had been attached to the office of Director General Medical Education (DGME).

Dr Khan on social media expressed surprise over the reports of his dismissal and said he does not know how he has been terminated despite the court giving him a clean chit earlier.

“Sixty-three kids died because the government did not pay Rs 68 lakh to the oxygen supplying firm. Eight persons were suspended in this case and seven have been reinstated. I got a clean chit from different inquiries from the DM to the principal secretary… Even the high court had held that there was not a single evidence establishing negligence or corruption against me… Still I have been terminated,” he said.

He was suspended, along with seven others in wake of the death of 70 children. Khan was also jailed for nine months on charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty.

On 31 July 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government suspended Khan again for allegedly treating patients forcibly at a hospital in Bahraich district, alleging that Dr Khan had entered the hospital’s paediatric department with some outsiders in 2018 and created panic.

The doctor challenged this order also, arguing that since he was already under suspension for the 2017 incident, there was no point in passing another similar order.

The Allahabad high court stayed the UP government’s order to suspend Dr Khan for the second time in September 2021.

After the August 2017 incident, the government had set up an inquiry committee under Himanshu Kumar, the then principal secretary, who submitted his report on 18 April 2019 which didn’t hold Khan guilty of “medical negligence”. It, however, accused him of being involved in private practice till August 2016.

“When I was in jail, the UP government again set up an inquiry against me on February 24, 2020, and on August 6, 2021, the state government declared in front of the court that they are withdrawing the inquiry order of the then Chief Secretary Himanshu Kumar,” Dr Kafeel Khan said.

He also explained that even on Wednesday, the government had not told the court about his termination.

“On November 10, 2021, there was a date in the court but the government did not submit any papers regarding termination. The next court date is on December 7, 2021. I have no hope of justice from this government,” Dr Khan added.

Reacting to Dr Khan’s dismissal, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi termed his dismissal as malice-driven and aimed at harassing him. “Dr Khan’s dismissal is driven by malice. Motivated by a hate agenda, the government is doing all this to harass him. But the government should keep in mind that it is not above the Constitution,” she tweeted in hindi, adding that the Congress party had been with Dr Kafeel in his fight for justice and will always be there.

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