Delhi infant deaths: Hospital owner, duty doctor sent to three-day police custody

DCP (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary stated that the initial cause of the fire was believed to be a short circuit, though an investigation is in progress.
Dr. Naveen Khichi (L), the owner of Baby Care New Born Child Hospital, and Dr. Akash being taken to custody after they were produced before the Karkardooma Court in the hospital fire case, in New Delhi, Monday, May 27, 2024.
Dr. Naveen Khichi (L), the owner of Baby Care New Born Child Hospital, and Dr. Akash being taken to custody after they were produced before the Karkardooma Court in the hospital fire case, in New Delhi, Monday, May 27, 2024.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: A city court on Monday remanded Dr Navin Khichi, owner of Baby Care New Born Child Hospital, where a fire broke out claiming seven newborns, to three-day police custody till May 30. Dr Akash, who was on duty during the incident late on Saturday night, was also sent to police custody.

Both Khichi and Akash were arrested on Sunday. According to a report submitted to the Delhi divisional commissioner, at the time of the fire, there were 12 babies in the hospital. The deceased included four boys and three girls, all aged 15 days, except for a 25-day-old baby boy.

DCP (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhary stated that the initial cause of the fire was believed to be a short circuit, though an investigation is in progress.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the tragedy, with Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar directing the Shahdara district magistrate to investigate the case.

Chaudhary told this newspaper that they have obtained a three-day police custody of the alleged people to verify their degrees and the documents regarding the registration of the hospital.

“We need to investigate the incident thoroughly,” he added.

As per the FIR accessed by this newspaper, a total of 27 oxygen cylinders were found inside and outside the two-storey building of the hospital.

“During an inspection of the scene, 27 oxygen cylinders were found inside and outside the building. Of these, five were found to have burst,” an excerpt from the FIR read.

The FIR also states that Khichi and the hospital staff did not ensure the proper safety and security of the newborns.

A preliminary probe by the Delhi Fire Services revealed several significant lapses, including illegal bed expansions within the hospital, inadequate fire exits, and improper use of oxygen cylinders. These violations contributed to the severity of the incident, highlighting critical safety failings in the facility.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Fire Service has written to the MCD regarding the confusion over the height of the hospital building.

Notably, only those buildings which are above the height of 9 metre are supposed to have a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the fire department.

Death of 7 newborns

  • FIR says out of total 27 Oxygen cyllinders found inside and outside two-storied building, five exploded

  • Government orders fire audit and submission of reports by all hospitals by June 8

  • 12 babies in the hospital at the time of the incident

  • Deceased included four boys and three girls, all aged 15 days except one boy who was 25 days old

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