PATNA: A controversy has arisen over the death of two inmates of a shelter home for mentally challenged women here with the hospital authorities and Bihar social welfare department providing conflicting narratives and reportedly keeping police in the dark.
The two inmates of the state-run shelter home died under unknown circumstances, a day after a man was arrested for allegedly asking the inmates of the home to escape by luring them with gifts.
The women were staying at 'Aasra' shelter home in Nepali Nagar locality of the city.
Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, Superintendent, Patna Medical College and Hospital, said two women, aged 17 and 40 years, were brought to the hospital on the intervening night of August 10 and August 11 and were declared "brought dead".
He said the postmortem examination was conducted yesterday.
Meanwhile, the police have blamed the hospital and shelter home authorities for not informing about the incident to the police station concerned.
"It was a lapse on part of the shelter home authorities and the hospital administration as neither of the two informed the police stations concerned before the postmortem was conducted. We came to know about the deaths only this morning," N H Khan, Inspector General of Police (IG), Patna Zone, said.
When asked about the incident, Raj Kumar, Director, Social Welfare Department, said, "Our department official who accompanied the two inmates of 'Aasra' shelter home to the hospital claimed that they died during treatment, but the hospital authorities say otherwise".
"We have ordered an enquiry into the matter and District Magistrate Kumar Ravi and Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj are also personally investigating the matter," he said.
Kumar said body of the 17-year-old inmate was cremated by NGO 'Anumaya' which runs the shelter home.
He said the last rites of the second woman were not performed since her religion was not clear.
"We have also deputed two officials of our department to join the investigation since questions may be raised over the conduct of the official under whose supervision the women were taken to the hospital. In fact, even after the deaths took place, he informed the department by writing a letter instead of rushing to the directorate or make a telephonic call," Kumar said.
The IG said instructions have been issued to conduct a second postmortem on the body of the 40-year-old inmate even as four persons associated with the shelter home were being interrogated.
The incident has surfaced at a time when the CBI is investigating another sex scandal at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in the state.