Congress seeks judicial probe into COVID deaths


The Opposition Congress has demanded a judicial probe into the death of 23 COVID-19 patients at the district hospital in Chamarajanagar, allegedly owing to shortage of oxygen.

Speaking to reporters after a virtual meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah demanded the probe by a committee headed by a district court judge. The probe by IAS officer and KSRTC Managing Director Shivayogi Kalasad would not bring out real facts and provide justice to families who had lost their members, he said.

Besides resignation of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar and district in-charge Minister S. Suresh Kumar for the tragedy, the Congress leader demanded compensation of ₹25 lakh to the families for the loss of lives. The officials who were responsible for the deaths should be suspended, he demanded.

The district hospital has 180 beds and of them 120 were oxygen beds and 20 were ventilators. The hospital required 350 cylinders daily for providing oxygen to patients. Oxygen was being supplied from firms based in Mysuru.

The hospital started facing acute shortage of oxygen on Friday, but only 30 cylinders were supplied on Saturday. Though former MP and KPCC working president Dhruvanarayan had informed Mr. Suresh Kumar about the shortage, the latter did not take action, Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged.

AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted “This is murder by designed negligence of Yediyurappa Govt! The Health Minister must resign. Will CM Yediyurappa ji own moral responsibility for the death?#CovidIndia”.

Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar alleged that “the people have lost faith and trust in the government and ministers” as the government has “no plan to handle the pandemic.”

Mr. Shivakumar tweeted “Criminal negligence has led to these 23 deaths in Karnataka. Why do CM @BSYBJP & Minister @mla sudhakar keep lying everyday saying there is enough oxygen? Is there no accountability? How many more will be ‘killed’ because the Govt can’t supply Oxygen?”

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