Police have registered an FIR against some trustees of a Bharuch-based COVID-19 hospital where a fire claimed the lives of 18 people, including 16 patients, earlier this month, an official said on Thursday.
The FIR was registered at the Bharuch 'B' division police station on Wednesday under Indian Penal Code Section 304(A) (causing death by negligence), he said.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Vikas Sunda is the complainant in the case from the government's side, police inspector B M Parmar said.
Sixteen COVID-19 patients and two trainee nurses died in the blaze in the ICU ward of the 'Welfare Hospital', run by a charitable trust, on May 1.
The FIR was registered against the Bombay Patel Welfare Society's president, Khalid Patel, other trustees and key functionaries of the trust which runs the hospital, Parmar said, adding that no one has been arrested so far.
According to the FIR, during a probe into the incident, the police learnt that the hospital, run by the Bombay Patel Welfare Society, which is registered as a trust, has two buildings – an old complex and a new building.
Though the district collector had given permission to start the designated COVID-19 hospital in the old building, the management, without informing the authorities, started the hospital for coronavirus patients in the new building, it alleged.
It also came to light that the designated hospital, having 75 beds, was made operational without seeking permission from competent authorities or a 'no objection certificate' related to fire safety, the FIR said.
At the time of the incident, 42 COVID-19 patients were admitted in the hospital, it added.
The fire started around 1 am on May 1, following a spark in the electric socket of a ventilator in ICU-1 ward, the FIR mentioned.
The probe also revealed that the new building was not accorded any BU (building usage) permission by the authorities, the FIR said.
Except for three to four fire extinguishers, there was no fire-fighting or emergency alarm system in the building, which led to the tragedy and loss of lives, said the FIR.
It also said the staff could not make use of the fire extinguishers as they were not given any training by the management to deal with such a situation.