AMRI Hospital gives another bank draft of Rs. 1.3 crore today but they have once again brazenly defied Supreme Court (SC) order to pay the full compensation of Rs. 11.5 crore (including interest for the past more than 15 years) for causing death of Anuradha Saha, wife of PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha. The Apex Court held AMRI Hospital and three senior Kolkata doctors (including Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, “chief adviser” for West Bengal government) guilty for “medical negligence” on 24th October, 2013 and directed the hospital to pay the compensation within 8 weeks. AMRI filed an application in December, 2013 seeking 1 year extension of time to pay because of “financial crunch”. But Supreme Court rejected AMRI’s application for extension of time vide an Order dated 30th January, 2014 and directed AMRI to pay the entire compensation within 2.5 months. As the 2.5 months period expired on 15th April, 2014, AMRI has now filed another application claiming further extension of time for 6 months to pay the “interest” which, as it stands today is about Rs. 6 crore and counting .
AMRI has made several astounding claims in their application filed in SC today which sends alarming signal for the West Bengal government. According to AMRI’s new application, as of 31st March, 2014, financial condition of different units of AMRI Hospital is as follows:
1) Vision Care Hospital in Kolkata is incurring “loss of Rs. 75 lakhs per month”.
2) AMRI Hospital at Salt Lake is generating “negligible amount of cash surplus”.
3) AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria is incurring “loss of Rs. 3 crores per month”.
4) AMRI Hospital in Bhubaneswar (opened in Feb, 2014) is incurring “loss of Rs. 2 crores per month”.
Ironically, AMRI has also claimed that they had to take “unsecured loans from Non-Banking Financial Companies at an interest of 12.75% p.a. to pay the principal amount” in order to pay the compensation as directed by Supreme Court of India.
About 90 defenseless patients were burnt to death at AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria in 2011 due to their reckless attitude with fire safety. While criminal as well as civil cases are still languishing in Kolkata courts to bring justice for these innocent patients, Mamata Banerjee government already allowed AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria to reopen and run business (although they have now claimed that this hospital is losing Rs. 3 crores each month). In contrast to the claim of extreme “financial crunch” as raised by AMRI, they built a new hospital in Bhubaneswar only two months ago with a reported cost of Rs. 310 crores. More importantly, if AMRI is truly as financially broke as they have claimed, why Mamata Banerjee government allowed AMRI at Dhakuria to reopen to play with the lives of the hapless patients who may go to this hospital for treatment? Who would pay compensation if any patient dies due to negligent treatment by AMRI hospital? Who would pay compensation to the families of the 90 patients who died from AMRI fire in 2011? A “contempt” petition against the CEO/directors of AMRI hospital for their deliberate disregard of the Apex Court verdict has already been filed by Dr. Saha which is listed for hearing on 5th May, 2014.