New Delhi, May 24 (ILNS): The Allahabad High Court has sought report on the alleged black-marketing of oxygen in UP’s Ghaziabad district, resulting into the deaths of COVID-19 patients.
The Division Bench of Justices Sunita Agarwal and Sadhna Rani (Thakur) on Friday passed this order, while hearing a Criminal Writ-Public Interest Litigation filed by Nand Kishor Gurjar, sitting MLA from Loni constituency in Ghaziabad, UP.
The petitioner alleged diversion of oxygen allocated for district Ghaziabad and the resultant death of people in Loni constituency and Ghaziabad district, on account of shortage of oxygen cylinders.
The allegations are primarily of the involvement of a respondent, who is posted as Additional District Magistrate, Ghaziabad, in the matter of diversion of oxygen cylinders.
The petitioner submitted that a complaint in writing had been made to the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ghaziabad on May 1, 2021, asking him to conduct an inquiry on the allegations made therein. Nothing has been transpired so far and as such, the petitioner is constrained to approach the Court.
The petition prayed for a high-level inquiry into the matter of diversion of oxygen cylinders from District Ghaziabad to Delhi and the State of Haryana, on account of corrupt practices of the respondent, presently posted as ADM (City) Ghaziabad.
“It is stated that the respondent, who is the In-Charge of oxygen distribution in District Ghaziabad, is responsible for black-marketing and illegal sale of oxygen to Delhi and Haryana, which had resulted in death of COVID-19 positive patients in Ghaziabad, specifically in Loni constituency.
“A direction is sought to conduct an inquiry through CBI, a Central agency, as the matter is related to diversion of oxygen from the state of UP to another state,” the petition said.
AAG Manish Goyal, appearing for the state, submitted that a three-member Committee consisting of ADM, Ghaziabad, Deputy CMO, Ghaziabad and Joint Commissioner, District Industries Centre, Ghaziabad, had been constituted for regulating distribution of oxygen supplies in the district to the designated hospitals for treating COVID positive cases.
The state quota for oxygen was allocated by the Central Government and the distribution was made by the agencies directly to the designated COVID hospitals.
In this regard, he submitted, 35 dedicated COVID hospitals were there in district Ghaziabad in the month of April and May, 2021 and no complaint was received regarding shortage of oxygen supplies from any of the said hospital.
He also submitted that for Loni constituency, there was only one COVID designated hospital having 12 beds and no complaint of shortage of oxygen supply to the said hospital had been received by the Committee. In fact, no complaint regarding shortage of Oxygen was received at the 24X7 control room that has been set up in district Ghaziabad.
As per the contention of Manish Goyal, shortage of oxygen was not reported in district Ghaziabad during the period of complaint that was in the last week of April, 2021 and the allegations in this regard in the writ petition are baseless. Submission, thus, is that the allegations of black marketing and illegal supply of oxygen from district Ghaziabad are without basis, the Court said.
It is, however, submitted that an inquiry has been instituted by the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad on the complaint dated May 1, 2021, filed by the petitioner before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad. An order dated April 5, 2021 had been passed by the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad appointing Asmita Lal, Chief Development Officer, Ghaziabad as inquiry officer for making inquiry into the allegations made in the complaint of the petitioner. He, however, admitted that the inquiry report has not been submitted so far.
Mr Goyal made the submissions on the basis of written instructions received by him from the office of the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad.
The Court stated that a copy of the written instructions received by Mr Goyal shall be brought on record of the petition within three days and a copy thereof shall also be supplied to SFA Naqvi, Advocate appearing for the petitioner, on his email address.
“In view of the above, while entertaining the petition, it is directed that the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad shall file his personal affidavit within a period of two weeks bringing on record the statement made by him in the written instructions sent to Manish Goyal”, the Court ordered. The Court has fixed the next date of hearing on June 7, 2021. ILNS/AP/SS/RJ