Year on, Pathak panel probe hangs fire

‘Conducting Inquiries Against Govt Officials Complicated Matter’


Srinagar, May 17: The State Government is yet to conclude the probe into the scary neonate deaths at GB Pant Hospital here which evoked strong resentment across Kashmir last year.
Informed sources told Greater Kashmir that the one-man inquiry panel headed by Commissioner Secretary Information Technology Department Bipul Pathak is yet to fix responsibility for the infant deaths. “There has been no headway in the matter till date,” sources disclosed, adding that the inquiry is virtually going at snail’s pace.
They said the government further derailed the probe recently by transferring the Presenting Officer of the case, Dr Javaid Naseem.
The inquiry was initiated after Dr Javed Chaudhary, the then Medical Superintendent of G B Pant hospital had submitted reply to the charge-sheet slapped on him by the GAD (Vigilance). The chargesheet was served to him on the basis of the interim inquiry report submitted by the Director SKIMS Soura.
The government had asked the Pathak panel to pick up the threads from Dr Zargar’s probe and come up with a comprehensive report on the reasons behind so many infant deaths in the Valley’s only pediatric hospital and fix responsibility thereof.
When contacted, Pathak told Greater Kashmir that the inquiry has begun and the new Presenting Officer had to be appointed. “I am studying the lengthy reply furnished by Dr Javed,” he added.
“To conduct inquiries against government officers is a complicated matter and we have to look at all angles before concluding the probe,” he said.
On the other hand, the Presenting Officer Dr Naseem said that the probe couldn’t be finalized due to the Assembly session in Jammu and the Durbar move.
Asked whether his transfer would affect the probe, he said: “It will not have any bearing as I have not been relieved yet.” Repeated attempts to contact Secretary GAD, Sheikh Mushtaq proved futile as he didn’t pick up the phone.
Following the pan-Kashmir hue and cry over the infant deaths, the State Government had appointed Professor Showkat Ali Zargar, Director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) to investigate the alarming deaths in the hospital in May last year. Within few days, Zargar submitted preliminary inquiry report into the matter.Later,Zargar submitted final report to the government in July.
In the report, the inquiry officer had revealed that the number of neonate deaths could have been much higher than what were reported.
The report also alleged that junior doctors were forced to prescribe medicines from substandard and unknown drug companies by former Medical superintendent of the hospital.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 May 2013 00:00:00 IST

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