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Jail custody for AMRI directors

- Moisturiser, shawls and dry fruits as 13-day police remand ends

The Alipore court on Friday rejected the bail plea of six directors of AMRI Hospitals and sent them to judicial custody till January 5.

The directors — S.K Todi and son Ravi; R.S. Goenka, son Manish and nephew Prashant; and D.N. Agarwal — were sent to Alipore Central jail after 13 days of police custody in the Lalbazar lock-up.

All were arrested on December 9, hours after Annexe I of AMRI Dhakuria caught fire, resulting in the loss of 91 lives.

The accused were sent to the jail in white Sumos of the police in which they were brought to the court. (Suman Choudhury’s illustration right show the six directors entering the Alipore court).

R.S. Agarwal, another arrested director, will be in SSKM Hospital at least till December 29.

The two arrested employees of the hospital — Satyabrata Upadhyay and Sanjib Pal — were remanded in police custody till Monday.

The day’s proceedings started with a touch of drama, with the directors’ lawyer, Amitabha Ganguly, accusing prosecution counsel of lacking in decorum after he objected to the defence submission.

“Basic decorum of the proceedings should be maintained. When someone speaks, the other person should listen. All this happens only in jatras,” said Ganguly.

Ganguly alleged before the magistrate that the directors had been forced to sign on blank papers. The sleuths allegedly filled up the papers and passed them off as statements made by the accused.

“Investigation against the Todis and D.N. Agarwal is over. (D.N.) Agarwal has a cancerous prostate gland. He is also in pain because of a cyst in his head. He should be released for treatment,” Ganguly submitted.

Ashok Mukherjee, another lawyer for the accused, told the court that the sleuths had failed to make any progress in the investigation in the 13 days of police custody.

“Today’s report is the same as the one the cops had submitted in the court on December 20 while seeking extension of the police remand for the accused. There is no reason to keep them behind bars,” Mukherjee said.

Opposing the bail plea, state counsel Rajdeep Majumdar said: “The nature of the incident is serious. Besides, there are chances of the accused tampering with evidence if they are granted bail.”

FIR: The fire department on Friday lodged an FIR against Kothari Medical Centre and Research Institute. Officers of the department had visited the hospital on December 21 and found several fire-safety lapses.