Amaravati: Three officials of a private hospital were arrested Monday in connection with the August 9 fire mishap which killed 10 patients at a star hotel converted to a COVID-19 care facility in Vijaywada. Ramesh Hospitals leased the star hotel and converted it into a paid COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) and lodged 31 patients when the mishap occurred, in a suspected case of an electrical short circuit.
Hospital COO Kodali Rajagopala Rao, general manager Kurapati Sudarsan and night shift manager Pallabothu Venkatesh were arrested Monday, city Commissioner of Police B Srinivasulu said in a release.
While Rao secured permission from the Krishna district authorities to run the CCC in the star hotel, Sudarsan was the overall in-charge of the centre, the Commissioner said.
Venkatesh, who was the night shift manager at the centre, was found sleeping in the hotel restaurant when the fire broke out, informed the police official.
The local tehsildar filed the police complaint soon after the accident Sunday and a criminal case under Sections 304 (2) and 308 read with 34 of IPC was filed against the managements of Ramesh Hospitals and Swarna Palace Hotel.
In her investigation, the tehsildar said she noted that the managements of Swarna Palace and Ramesh Hospitals ‘had knowledge that there were electrical defects in the lodge’ and, as rectification of defects involved huge amounts, avoided the repairs.
“Knowing the fact that if the defects were not rectified there is a possibility of shortage of electricity, they opened the COVID-19 care centre at the Swarna Palace hotel,” the tehsildar added in her complaint. “They were thus responsible for the death of 10 persons,” she added.
The Commissioner of Police said further investigation in the case was continuing.
The 10 patients died after the panic-stricken inmates tried to flee a fire, suspected to have been caused by a short circuit. Thirty two people were rescued by the Andhra Pradesh Disaster Response and Fire Services Department.