SIT directs Enforcement Directorate probe in hospital trust finances

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The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe financial transactions of the trust whose chairman was arrested on Thursday for a fire in a hospital run by it in which 21 people were killed.

A senior police official said the SIT had directed the ED to examine all financial transactions of ‘Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust’ (SOA) that runs several institutions including Sum hospital where the incident occurred.

Enforcement Directorate

At the same time, Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT on black money Justice Arijit Pasayat has also asked Odisha police to cooperate with the ED during their investigation, he said. “We have received a letter from the SIT on black money last night asking us to cooperate with the ED which is to probe into the money transactions of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust,” said Director General of Police K B Singh.

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The SIT has asked the police to ensure that at no document or evidence pertaining to financial transactions of the trust including the hospital are tampered with or destroyed, the DGP said.

The SIT direction for ED probe into money transactions came almost simultaneously with the surrender and subsequent arrest of Manoj Ranjan Nayak, Chairman of the trust that runs SOA under which several institutions including an engineering college and the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum hospital function.

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With the arrest of Nayak who surrendered at Khandagiri police station here in the early hours today, the number of those held in connection with the fire tragedy rose to five. The arrest came hours after the Commissinorate of Police had issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against Nayak and Saswati Das, both trustees of the charitable trust. While Nayak is being interrogated by the police, efforts are on to nab Das, the DGP said.

Earlier, four senior officials of Sum Hospital including its Medical Superintendent Pushparaj Samantasinghar had been arrested on Tuesday night on the basis of an FIR lodged by the state government’s fire service department. They were booked under section 304, 308, 285 and 34 of IPC.

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A case was registered against the authorities of Sum hospital which has been accused of overlooking a 2013 advisory of state government to improve its firefighting mechanism. The hospital does not allegedly possess a fire safety certificate.

Another FIR has also been filed on behelf of the Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) against the Sum Hospital authorities alleging gross negligence in fire safety measures.

That apart, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) is also inquiring into the devastating fire incident at the direction of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

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