Hospital fire: Delhi Police adds Juvenile Justice Act section to FIR

The fire broke out at the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital on Saturday night. The owner of the hospital, Dr Naveen Khichi, and Dr Akash, who was on duty at the time of the incident, were arrested.
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 16:11 IST
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 16:11 IST

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police has added a section of the juvenile justice law to an FIR lodged in connection with a fire at a children's hospital in Vivek Vihar that killed six newborns, officials said on Thursday.

The fire broke out at the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital on Saturday night. The owner of the hospital, Dr Naveen Khichi, and Dr Akash, who was on duty at the time of the incident, were arrested, according to police.

An official said section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which deals with the punishment for cruelty to children and says if such an offence has been committed by a person employed by or managing an organisation that is entrusted with the care and protection of children, he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of Rs 5 lakh or both, has been added to the FIR.

The doctors were sent to police custody for three days. On the expiry of their police-custody period on Thursday, they were sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a court.

Police have found that Khichi was running the hospital illegally as the licence for the same had expired on March 31. He had a licence for a five-bedded hospital but was found treating 12 newborns.

Officials said the six newborns who died were on ventilators when the fire broke out at the hospital.

According to police, Khichi has revealed that he applied for the renewal of the licence on February 21 and also requested the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in Delhi to allow him to run a 15-bedded hospital at the same premises.

"But the agency concerned neither allowed him to continue nor discontinue the facility," an officer said.

The officer said police have written to the DGHS unit concerned to gather information about the procedure for providing a licence to such hospitals.

Police suspect negligence on the part of DGHS officials and might take action against them if any anomaly is found.

An officer said apart from Akash, two other doctors employed in the hospital hold the BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree.

The officer said they will write to the Delhi Bharatiya Chikitsa Parishad (DBCP) to take action against the three doctors as they were operating as paediatricians in a child-care hospital. These three BAMS doctors were hired as resident medical officers (RMOs) for Rs 40,000 per month each, the officer said.

Police said the degrees and certificates of all the staff members of the hospital have been submitted to the investigators and are being verified.

The statements of all the staff members, parents of the children and eyewitnesses have been recorded. Police have not found any negligence on the part of Khichi's wife, Dr Jagriti, as she neither owned the property nor had any stake in the hospital.

Police said Jagriti, a dentist, owns another children's hospital at Pashim Puri in the Pashim Vihar area and that facility was opened in 2013.

Another officer, who is privy to the investigations, said Khichi opened the Vivek Vihar branch of the hospital in 2015 without proper documentation. The hospital was closed in 2020 after a nurse allegedly beat up a newborn and the act was caught on CCTV camera.

In 2021, Khichi again obtained a licence and started running the five-bedded hospital at Vivek Vihar.

Published 30 May 2024, 16:11 IST

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