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Gorakhpur tragedy: UP Government stands by medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon

BRD Hospital falls under Tandon’s ambit and for the last five days a letter written by Pushpa Sales to the minister on August 9 is doing the rounds.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Aug 18, 2017, 08.13 AM IST|Original: Aug 18, 2017, 12.11 AM IST
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The linking of oxygen shortage to any of the deaths in Gorakhpur has not been established so far, with experts saying proving such alink is very difficult in the absence of a post-mortem.
The linking of oxygen shortage to any of the deaths in Gorakhpur has not been established so far, with experts saying proving such alink is very difficult in the absence of a post-mortem.
NEW DELHI: The UP government is in no mood to sack its medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon for the Gorakhpur deaths, as it is of the view that the minister has done nothing wrong.

Tandon, son of veteran BJP leader and Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon, was seated in the front row at a function in Lucknow on Thursday, attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and senior ministers of his Cabinet to distribute loan waiver certificates to farmers. Sources in the UP government told ET that the blame is likely to be put on the oxygen dealer, Pushpa Sales, which was appointed in 2014 for eight years by the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government to be a go-between BRD Hospital and the oxygen supplier, a company called INOX, for a commission.

The chief secretary-led probe is focussing on that. BRD Hospital falls under Tandon’s ambit and for the last five days a letter written by Pushpa Sales to the minister on August 9 is doing the rounds. In this letter, the firm informed Tandon it was still to get its dues of Rs 68 lakh.

“Why did Pushpa Sales turn off the oxygen supply to the hospital on August 10 though it had given 15 days for the dues to be paid in a legal notice on July 31? On August 1, BRD Hospital had written to Tandon about the dues. Within a day of receiving the letter, he sent Rs 2 crore to the hospital on August 5, which was received by the hospital on August 7, but it sat on the same till August 11,” a top state functionary told ET.

He said the August 9 letter would have taken a few days to arrive and it is not possible for the minister to personally go through every letter written to him. “Anyways, Tandon and the chief minister visited BRD Hospital on August 9, but no one informed them of any problem even when they asked,” the official said. A state BJP functionary pointed out that the CM in a press conference last week had said that the said August 9 letter from Pushpa Sales had “no meaning” as the state government had already released money to the hospital four days before the same.

Pushpa Sales and at least half-adozen hospital doctors could be booked in an FIR by next week. The linking of oxygen shortage to any of the deaths in Gorakhpur has not been established so far, with experts saying proving such alink is very difficult in the absence of a post-mortem. While 30 deaths took place on August 10-11 in BRD Hospital prompting an uproar, 34 deaths took place there on August 14-15 when oxygen supply was full and teams of top doctors from Delhi were camping in Gorakhpur.

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