VIJAYAWADA: The Vijayawada police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who provides
information on the whereabouts of the absconding key persons wanted in connection with the fire incident at the Swarna Palace COVID Care Centre (CCC) that killed 10 patients and left 18 others injured.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Police Commissioner Bathini Srinivasulu said the management of Ramesh Hospitals, which was running the CCC, is not cooperating with the investigation.
"Though they are in profession that requires responsibility, it is unfortunate that the hospital management is behaving irresponsibly," he stated, adding that the responsibility to render justice to the victims now lies with the police.
Pointing out that the accused and the suspects in the case are not cooperating in the investigation, Srinivasulu said special teams were formed to nab those who are absconding, and have gone to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai to find them. "We are searching for people who hold top positions in Ramesh Hospitals," he said.
"They are not even in a position to say what kind of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the hospital and hotel. The hotel does not have a No Objection Certificate from the fire services department and the CCC was being operated even before permission was granted," he added, and said that the hospital management failed to follow Government Order 77, which was issued with respect to COVID-19 management.
The Police Commissioner further said that of the 31 patients lodged at the hotel when the mishap took place, 26 tested negative for COVID-19, and of the 10 who lost their lives, six later tested negative.
"We also came to know that the hospital management charged exorbitant amounts from the patients," he said, and added that the police had served notices under Sections 91 and 161 on the Board members of Ramesh Hospitals. "We will serve notices on others also, if required," he said.
"It is better for the accused and the suspects in the case to cooperate with the investigation. Had the management responded immediately when the fire broke out, lives would have been saved. The hospital management ran the CCC from the hotel instead of a quarantine centre," he added
"A quarantine centre is meant only for those who return from other states or countries, while a CCC is for COVID-19 patients," he stated and added that action would also be taken against the management of Swarna Palace hotel.