Bengaluru/Ballari: In a twist to the suspected deaths due to power outage in Karnataka, Ballari-based Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) director Dr T Gangadhara Gouda alleged that it was a pre-planned act to defame him.
Maula Hussein (35), suffering from kidney-related ailments, and Chettemma (30), a snake-bite victim, died at the state-run medical institution in the district headquarters town of Ballari on Wednesday at 9.30 am and 9.35 am respectively.
Some reports attributed the deaths to power cut and a defunct power generator at the government medical college hospital.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Gouda said: “I have heard certain audio clips related to the case. It (power outage) was pre-planned. I will collect all the details as to how they (the conspirators) contacted and connived with others and submit a report to the deputy commissioner of the district.” He added that he will lodge a complaint as well.
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“The power was disconnected, as I was appointed as the director (of VIMS) on August 19. I do not have a definite information as to who disconnected power. I will lodge a complaint after getting confirmation (about the conspirators),” the VIMS director said.
When asked whether it was an act to tarnish his reputation, he said, “Yes. Some people could not tolerate that I am continuing in this post. They made this attempt to remove me from here. You will get to know the details.” Dr Gangadhar refused to divulge the details of the audio clip but said he would let everyone know about the incident.
He also said he is prepared for a legal battle if such a situation arises and may also file a police complaint.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was in Kalaburagi on Saturday, said the government will take action based on a report submitted by the team formed to probe the death of patients in VIMS.
“The team constituted by the state government to probe the death of patients visited VIMS yesterday. Action will be taken based on the investigation report,” Bommai told reporters in Kalaburagi.
The Chief Minister expressed his sorrow over the incident saying that he was pained to learn about the incident.
To a query on former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s displeasure over state Health Minister K Sudhakar not visiting the hospital yet, Bommai said the government is doing its job.
Meanwhile, Sudhakar and Siddaramaiah traded barbs on the issue with the latter claiming that five people died.
“It is said five people have died, the health minister or any other minister has not yet visited the hospital yet,” Siddaramaiah said.
Charging that the government claimed that no one died due to power outage, Siddaramaiah sought to know why the government gave the next-of-kin of the victims an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh when the cause of death was not power failure. “The government is lying,” he alleged.
Sudhakar flayed Siddaramaiah saying that the latter’s statement was unbecoming of a leader.
“When I learnt about the incident, the same day I constituted a committee. The same day they went there and investigated the matter,” the health minister said.
He pointed out that both the patients who died had health issues and both were admitted in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Because there was a problem, those who died were in the ICU. If there was no health problem, why would they have been on ventilators. The investigation is on but I am not going to say authoritatively that the incident happened in a certain manner,” Sudhakar said.
“I have certain information but will not speak without the final report. After getting the report, I will table it in the Assembly. Let the Assembly decide,” the minister said.