The Uttar Pradesh Government informed the Allahabad High Court on Friday of its decision to withdraw the re-inquiry, which was started on February 22, 2020, against the suspended BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan.

The High Court noted that the government’s decision comes after the Court’s notice on July 29, 2021, when it had noticed an 11-months delay in re-initiating the inquiry against Dr Kafeel Khan, even when the Enquiry Officer had submitted his previous enquiry on April 24, 2019.

Dr Kafeel Khan in an interview with The Citizen said, “It is a huge relief. I am hoping that I would be reinstated to my job with all the honour. If I get reinstated and the parents who lost their kids get justice, it would be a great honour.”

In August 2017, about 60 children had died in Baba Raghav Das Medical College, Gorakhpur due to alleged oxygen supply disruption. Following this, Dr Kafeel Khan, a paediatrician at the service was suspended from service on August 22, 2017.

Remembering that night Dr Kafeel Khan said, “What India witnessed in April to May this year was a deja-vu moment for me. What I witnessed on August 10, 2017, at BRD Medical College was children’s struggle to breathe. That incident still gives me sleepless nights.”

The Uttar Pradesh Government has said that it will try to conclude its disciplinary proceedings in the case within three months.

With the withdrawal of the re-inquiry, the previous inquiry report submitted by Enquiry Officer - Principal Secretary Mr Himanshu Kumar has survived.

In his report, Himanshu Kumar has stated that Dr Kafeel Khan was the junior-most doctor and he had joined the medical college on August 8, 2016, under probation and was on probation at the time of the incident.

The report stated, “Despite being on leave on 10.08.17, he (Dr Kafeel) rushed to BRD medical college Gorakhpur on that fateful night and tried to save every innocent life. He and his team managed to arrange 500 cylinders in those 54 hours. He called 26 people on that fateful night to all the officials of BRD medical college including District Magistrate Gorakhpur.”

The report has ruled out any suggestion of his involvement in corruption.

In the same order, the High Court has also directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to explain by August 10, 2021, why Dr Kafeel Khan is still suspended for the past four years even when the other seven co-accused, including the ex-principal of the medical college, oxygen in-charge and accountants have been reinstated to their post.